Conceptual Alignment: How Brains Achieve Mutual Understanding.
Stolk A., Verhagen L., Toni I.
We share our thoughts with other minds, but we do not understand how. Having a common language certainly helps, but infants' and tourists' communicative success clearly illustrates that sharing thoughts does not require signals with a pre-assigned meaning. In fact, human communicators jointly build a fleeting conceptual space in which signals are a means to seek and provide evidence for mutual understanding. Recent work has started to capture the neural mechanisms supporting those fleeting conceptual alignments. The evidence suggests that communicators and addressees achieve mutual understanding by using the same computational procedures, implemented in the same neuronal substrate, and operating over temporal scales independent from the signals' occurrences.