Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences GSN-LMU

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Agnieszka Wykowska

Prof. Dr. Agnieszka Wykowska

GSN associate faculty


Senior scientist/group leader


Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia
Social cognition in human-robot interaction
via Morego 30
16163 Genoa, Italy

Phone: +39 (0) 10 8172242


Further Information

Research focus:

My research focuses on mechanisms of social cognition in interactions with others - natural and artificial agents. The key question is what makes us ascribe intentionality to other agents. For example, are there certain subtle behavioural characteristics that appear to result from mental processes? Can we imitate them on artificial embodied agents? To answer these questions, we use experimental protocols with realistic natural interactions between humanoid robots and humans, we conduct non-verbal Turing tests and examine if social attunement depends on attribution of intentional agency to the robot interaction partner. This type of research impacts fundamental science (social cognitive neuroscience) and also robotics (providing guidelines for roboticists on how to design behavioural characteristics of robots to make them evoke social attunement in humans).

Key words: Social cognition, human-robot interaction, intentional agency, artificial agents

GSN students

Selected publications:

Wykowska, A., Chaminade, T., & Cheng, G. (2016). Embodied artificial agents for understanding human social cognition. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London: B. Biological Sciences, 371, 20150375.

Pérez-Osorio, J., Müller, H., Wiese, E., Wykowska, A. (2015). Gaze following in the context of complex action scenarios. PLOS ONE 10(11): e0143614. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0143614

Wykowska, A., Kajopoulos, J., Obando-Leitón, M., Chauhan, S., Cabibihan, J.J., Cheng, G. (2015). Humans are well tuned to detecting agents among non-agents: Examining the sensitivity of human perception to behavioral characteristics of intentional agents. International Journal of Social Robotics. Online first. doi: 10.1007/s12369-015-0299-6

Wykowska, A.,* Kajopoulos, J.,* Ramirez-Amaro, K., Cheng, G. (2015). Autistic traits inversely correlate with implicit sensitivity to human-like behavior. * equal contribution. Interaction Studies, 16:2, 219-248.
Wykowska, A.*, Wiese, E.*, Prosser, A., Müller, H.J. (2014). Beliefs about the minds of others influence how we process sensory information. PLOS ONE, 9 (4), e94339, *equal contribution

Wykowska, A., Chellali, R., Al-Amin, M. Md., Müller, H.J. (2014). Implications of Robot Actions for Human Perception. How Do We Represent Actions of the Observed Robots? International Journal of Social Robotics, 6 (3), 357-366.

Wykowska, A., Schubö, A. (2012). Action intentions modulate allocation of visual attention: electrophysiological evidence. Frontiers in Psychology, 3: 379. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00379

Wiese, E.*, Wykowska, A.*, Zwickel, J., Müller, H.J. (2012), I see what you mean: how attentional selection is shaped by ascribing intentions to others. PLoS ONE 7(9): e45391; *equal contribution

Wykowska, A., Schubö, A. (2012). Perception and action as two sides of the same coin. A review of the importance of action-perception links in humans for social robot design and research. International Journal of Social Robotics, 1, 5-14.

Wykowska, A., Schubö, A. (2011). Irrelevant singletons in visual search do not capture attention but can produce non-spatial filtering costs. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23, 645–660.

Wykowska, A., Schubö, A. (2010). On the temporal relation of top-down and bottom-up mechanisms during guidance of attention. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 22, 640-654.

Wykowska, A., Schubö, A., Hommel, B. (2009). How you move is what you see: Action planning biases selection in visual search. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 35, 1755-1769.