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Centre for Human Interactivity



CHI Members

Fields of Research

  • Cognitive ethnography
  • Distributed cognition
  • Embodied interaction

Sarah Bro Trasmundi (née Pedersen) is Associate Professor at the University of Southern Denmark. She has been a visiting scholar at (i) Department of Education, Gothenburg University, where she worked together with Professor Per Linell, (ii) Department of Cognitive Science, University of California San Diego, hosted by Professor David Kirsh, (iii) Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioural Sciences, Stanford University, hosted by Professor Michael L. Anderson, (iv) Department of German, University of California, Berkeley, hosted by Professor Claire Kramsch, (v) Department of Computing, Goldsmiths University of London, where she worked with Professor Mark Bishop.

She is the co-director of Centre for Human Interactivity (CHI) and works with cognitive ethnography and embodied interaction on a large research project "The Ecology of Psychotherapy: Integrating Cognition, Language, and Emotion" (EPICLE). Futhermore, she is currently the P.I. of the research project "How do University Students Read? A Cognitive Ethnography Study", and the director of the Advanced Cognitive Ethnography Lab at Department of Language and Communication.

Selected publications

Trasmundi, S.B. (2020). Errors and Interaction: A cognitive ethnography of emergency medicine. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Trasmundi, S. B. & Cowley, S. J. (2020). Reading: How Readers Beget Imagining. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, [531682].

Loaiza, J. M., Trasmundi, S. B. & Steffensen, S. V. (2020). Multiscalar Temporality in Human Behaviour: A Case Study of Constraint Interdependence in Psychotherapy. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, [1685].

Fields of research

  • Ecological linguistics
  • Distributed cognition
  • Human interactivity


For more than a decade, Professor Sune Vork Steffensen has contributed to the development of ecological linguistics through numerous publications. His current research combines interaction analysis, ecological linguistics and situated, distributed and systemic approaches in cognitive science. He is one of the pioneers of Cognitive Event Analysis, i.e. the study of how short-scale interbodily dynamics, constrained by large-scale sociocultural patterns, enable agents and systems to achieve results. His main empirical interest is interactivity in organizational settings (primarily within the health sector), e.g. expertise, decision making, and problem solving in complex sociocultural environments. He is currently the Co-Director of the Centre of the Human Interactivity, PI on a large project on The Ecology of Psychotherapy: Integrating Cognition, Languge, and Emotion (EPICLE). Further, Sune Vork Steffensen is treasurer of the International Society for Interactivity, Language and Cognition.

Selected publications

Steffensen, S. V. (2011). Beyond mind: an extended ecology of languaging. In S. J. Cowley (Ed.), Distributed language (pp. 185-210). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Steffensen, S. V. (2013). Human interactivity: Problem-solving, solution-probing and verbal patterns in the wild. In S. J. Cowley & F. Vallée-Tourangeau (Eds.). Cognition Beyond the Brain: Computation, Interactivity and Human Artifice (pp. 195-221). Dordrecht: Springer. 

Steffensen, S. V., & Fill, A. (2014). Ecolinguistics: the state of the art and future horizons. Language Sciences, 41, Part A, 6-25.

Steffensen, S. V. (2015). Distributed Language and Dialogism: notes on non-locality, sense-making and interactivity. Language Sciences, 50, 105-119.

Steffensen, S. V., Vallée-Tourangeau, F., & Vallée-Tourangeau, G. (2016). Cognitive events in a problem-solving task: a qualitative method for investigating interactivity in the 17 Animals problem. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 28(1), 79-105.

Stephen Cowley is Professor at the University of Southern Denmark (Slagelse Campus). His interdisciplinary work treats interaction, thinking and language as intermeshing phenomena. This view grew out of a Cambridge PhD entitled “The Place of Prosody in Italian Conversations.” This focused how attuning to voice dynamics shaped what happened next (as people enact relationships). Today, he calls this prosodic cognition. Building on acoustic analysis of sense-making, he turned to rapid aspects of encounters between adults, mother-infant interaction, human-human-robot interaction, simulated medical emergencies and experimental problem solving. This opened up a perspective on linguistic cognition that connects integrational critique of post-Saussurian work with views that trace language to the functional coordination of biological systems. Since 2005 he has coordinated a grass-roots group of scholars who aim to transform the language sciences. In developing an alternative to viewing language as like the use of artificial codes, the Distributed Language Group have organized many academic conferences, workshops and special issues. On the distributed perspective, language is activity whose dynamics contribute much to human action, feeling and thought. In pursuing questions of method, Stephen has recently focused on health interaction and, specifically, learning in high fidelity medical simulations. Recently, he became secretary of the new International Society for the Study of Interactivity, Language and Cognition (ISSILC). His publications include Distributed Language (2011) and, to appear, a collection of papers entitled Cognition beyond the brain: computation, interactivity and human artifice (Co-edited with Frederic Vallee-Tourangeau). 

Fields of research 

•   Ecosocial multimodal semiotics
•   The materiality of graphics

Originally a scholar of multimodal social semiotics with special interest in corporate logos and corporate identity design, over the past decade Christian Mosbæk Johannessen has ventured ever deeper into the intersection between semiotics, media studies, materiality studies, ecological psychology and cognitive science. His main empirical interest is our embodied experience of graphic traces. He has recently published a co-edited book (with Theo van Leeuwen) entitled The materiality of Writing. A Trace Making Perspective.

Selected publications

Johannessen, C. M. (2016). Experiental meaning potential in the Topaz Energy logo: A framework for graphemic and graphetic analysis of graphic logo design. Social Semiotics, 1-20.

Johannessen, C. M. (2017). The Challenge of Simple Graphics for Multimodal Studies. Articulation and Time Scales in Fuel Retail Logos.  Visual Communication, 16(4).

Johannessen, C. M. & van Leeuwen, T. (2017). (Ir)regulatiry. In C. M. Johannessen & T. van Leeuwen (Eds.), The Materiality of Writing. A Trace Making Perspective. (pp. 175-193). London: Routledge.

Johannessen, C. M. & van Leeuwen, T. (Eds. (2017). The Materiality of Writing. A trace Making Perspective. Routledge Series in Multimodality. London: Routledge.

Fields of Research

  • Cognitive Ethnography
  • Distributed Cognition
  • Embodied Interaction


Malene Jensen has a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Copenhagen. She is currently enrolled as a Ph.D. student at the University of Southern Denmark. She has previously worked as an associate professor at the University College Absalon, where she was involved in the teacher education program.

Her main research interest is classroom interaction with a focus on 1) the inclusion and exclusion dynamics, and 2) the interactive and reflexive positioning which take place in communities of practice. As a former teacher and reading tutor in elementary school and as a reading tutor educator at the university college, she has worked with a cognitive and sociocultural approach to reading.

In her current Ph.D. project, she investigates reading activities at the university college from an embodied and ecological perspective. Particularly she is interested in analyzing how reading practices are constrained, what inhibit students from applying an efficient and functional reading strategy and which interventions should be initiated to accommodate the identified challenges. The project is part of the externally funded research project: "How do University Students Read? A Cognitive Ethnography Study".

Fields of research

  • Phenomenology
  • Materiality
  • Language

Rasmus Gahrn-Andersen is Associate Professor at the Department of Marketing and Management at the University of Southern Denmark. His areas of research include phenomenology, languaging, distributed cognition and theories about social organizing. His Ph.D.-thesis outlines a theory about social organizing based on an epistemologically clarified phenomenological outset as well as a critique of the analytical concept of context. He is currently working on how drones affect organizational routines and outcomes

Selected publications

Gahrn-Andersen, R. (2017). But language too is material! Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences.

Gahrn-Andersen, R. (2018). Biological simplexity and cognitive heteronomy. Language Sciences.

Gahrn-Andersen, R., & Cowley, S. (2017). Phenomenology & Sociality: How Extended Normative Perturbations Give Rise to Social Agency. Intellectica, (67), 379-398.

Fields of Research

  • Practical phenomenology
  • Cognitive ethnography
  • Organizational development


Malte Lebahn is enrolled as a Ph.D. fellow at University of Southern Denmark after graduating from a Master of Communication at Aalborg University. Maltes research interest is the coupling of phenomenology and cognitive science in the study of complex work environments.

In his current Ph.D. project (SimLearn), he studies four hospital wards through cognitive ethnographic methods. Based on his studies, he develops simulation training scenarios tailored to the departments and assesses if the training increases the potential for learning with the healthcare staff. The goal is the increased potential for fewer medication errors in hospitals. 

Selected Publications

Lebahn, M., Bing, R. G. & Christiansen, N. H. (2015). Den blinde plet: Et filosofisk hermeneutisk kommunikationsspeciale på Aalborg Universitetshospital. Speciale. Aalborg: Aalborg Universitet

Fields of research

  • Cognitive Ethnography
  • Interactivity
  • Hybrid Cognition


Line Maria Simonsen is a Ph.D. fellow at the University of Southern Denmark, member of Centre for Human Interactivity. She is visiting Gothenburg University, hosted by senior lecture Oscar Lindwall and the Department of Applied Information Technology (October 2019) and Department of Cognitive Science at Macquarie University, Sydney, to work together with Professor John Sutton (February-August 2020) in order to develop a theoretical and methodological framework of Hybrid Cognition.

Moreover, in employing cognitive ethnography, Cognitive Task Analysis and Cognitive Event Analysis in her Ph.D. project she investigates how digital platforms, i.e., e-consultations, enable, condition and constrains interactions in healthcare. Her goal is to advance theoretical basis for investigating various dynamics of the socio-technological systems in health care as well as contributing with empirical interventions to clinical practice. 

Selected Publications

Simonsen, L. M., & Steffensen, S. V. (under review). Enacting hybrid cognition in medical discharges.

Simonsen, L. M., & Steffensen, S. V. (2019). Hybrid Cognition in medical simulation: Investigating micro-level organisational cognition. Proceedings of the European Academy of Management Conference, Lissabon, Portugal., 1-35.

Simonsen, L. M. (2017). Framings i distribuerede kognitive systemer: Hvordan praktikere møder patienten. Kandidatafhandling. Odense: Syddansk Universitet.

Camille Munk Holmstedt is a master student of English Studies at the University of Southern Denmark. Her main research interests are within the fields of:

  1. Languaging including linguistics, dialogic and eco-social approaches to the study of human interactivity.
  2. Radical embodied cognition

She has previously worked with data transcriptions in relation to the project 'The Ecology of Psychotherapy: Integrating Cognition, Language, and Emotion' (EPICLE) under the Centre for Human Interactivity.

Her most recent research activity is a paper presentation on personhood and dialogical interactions on psychotherapy:

  • Holmstedt, M. C. (2019). Language & Life: Being a Person in Therapy. Paper presentation at The International Scientific Conference on Language, Discourse and (Inter)Culture in Human Communication. Siberian Federal University in Krasnoyarsk, Russia.

She is currently a research assistant on the project 'How do University Students Read? A Cognitive Ethnography Study.'


Last Updated 06.09.2022