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CHI Members

Associate Professor Sarah Bro Trasmundi (Centre Director)

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. Currently she works with cognitive ethnography and embodied interaction on a large research project The Ecology of Psychotherapy: Integrating Cognition, Languge, and Emotion (EPICLE). She is the director of the Advanced Cognitive Ethnography Lab at Department of Language and Communication. 

Selected publications

Trasmundi, S. B. & Linell, P (2017). Interactivity, extended dialogism and cognitive event analysis: finding problems to solutions in emergency medicine. Pragmatics & Cognition; 24(1): 64–92.

Pedersen, S.B. (2015). The Cognitive Ecology of Human Errors in Emergency Medicine: An Interactivity -based Approach. PhD­-dissertation. Odense: University of Southern Denmark.

Trasmundi, S. B. (2016). Distribueret kognition og distribueret sprog: analyse af kognitive events i en akutmedicinsk social praksis. NyS 50, 55–85.

Professor Sune Vork Steffensen

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 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.

Professor Stephen Cowley
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). 
Associate Professor Christian Mosbæk Johannessen

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.

Associate Professor Thomas Wiben Jensen

Fields of research

  • Emotion and cognition in social interaction
  • Metaphor and metaphoricity from an ecological perspective
  • Multimodal analysis


Thomas Wiben Jensen’s work is focused on understanding and exploring the intersection between linguistics, cognition and social interaction from an ecological perspective. This interdisciplinary research interests include the role of emotion, gesture and cognition in social interaction, the overlaps and differences between metaphor in writing and metaphoricity in spoken whole-body interaction, as well as an ecological approach to philosophy of science. Besides from having written two books in Danish on cognition, emotion and philosophy on science, Thomas has published in several international journals in relation to work on distributed and enactive cognition, affordances, and metaphoricity based on video recordings of social interaction in various organizational settings. He is currently PI on a large project on The Ecology of Psychotherapy: Integrating Cognition, Languge, and Emotion (EPICLE). In addition, Thomas is a member of the editorial board of NyS (Nydansk Sprogstudier), and a member of RaAM (the Association for Researching and Applying Metaphor). In 2017 he organized the last RaAM conference (held at SDU) with the theme Ecological cognition and metaphor.

Selected publications

Jensen, T. W. (2017). Doing Metaphor: An Ecological Perspective on Metaphoricity on Discourse. In B. Hampe (Ed.). Metaphor: Embodied Cognition and Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Jensen, T. W. & Pedersen, S. B. (2016). Affect and affordances: The role of action and emotion in social interaction. Cognitive Semiotics, Vol 9, No. 1, 79-103.

Jensen, T. W. (2014). Emotion in languaging: Language and emotion as affective, adaptive and flexible behavior in social interaction. Frontiers in Psychology, Vol 5, No. 720: 1-29.

Postdoctoral fellow Johanne Stege Philipsen

Fields of research 

  • Embodied Interaction
  • Cognitive Ethnography
  • Gesture
  • Collective Creativity

Johanne Stege Philipsen is a Postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Language and Communication at SDU. Johanne has a background in Linguistics and Cognitive Semiotics from Aarhus University, and has done work in fields of Semiotics, Interaction studies, and Cognitive ethnography. Her main area of research is micro-analytic studies of face-to-face interaction with special interests including tactility, embodiment, gesture, joint problem solving, ecological cognition and collaborative idea generation processes. Her dissertation was dedicated to the diverse synergies of creative group processes with a special focus on idea generation using LEGO blocks and, among other things, involving the workshop method LEGO Serious Play. During her PhD training, Johanne has had several extensive international research stays with prof. Charles Goodwin and prof. Marjorie Harness Goodwin at UCLA. At the moment, she is investigating co-operative gesture transformations and embodied practices in psychotherapy. As a footnote, she has also published under her previous last name Bjørndahl.

Selected publications

Tylén, K., Philipsen, J. S., Roepstorff, A., & Fusaroli, R. (2016). Trails of meaning construction: Symbolic artifacts engage the social brain. NeuroImage, 134: 105-112.

Bjørndahl, J.S., Fusaroli R., Østergaard, S. and Tylén K. (2015) Agreeing is not enough: The constructive role of miscommunication. Interaction Studies, 16(3): 395-525.

Bjørndahl, J. S., Fusaroli, R., Østergaard, S., & Tylén, K. (2014). Thinking together with material representations: Joint epistemic actions in creative problem solving. Cognitive Semiotics, 7(1), 103-123.

Tylén K., Fusaroli R, Bjørndahl J.S., Raszerczek-Leonardi, J., Østergaard, S. & Stjernfelt, F. (2014) Diagrammatic Reasoning: abstraction, interaction, and insight. Pragmatics & Cognition, 22(2): 264-283.

Associate Professor Rasmus Gahrn-Andersen

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.

Ph.D. Student Matthew Harvey
Matthew Harvey is a Ph.D.-fellow at the University of Southern Denmark (Slagelse Campus). His main interests are the relation between distributed and enactive theories of language and the philosophy of agency and techniques. His PhD is focused on replacing representations (that's the catchphrase) in linguistic theory, both as a concept and as a suite of terms and associated ways of thinking. With that in mind, his immediate work here is exploring the use of agent-based modeling as a research tool in distributed and ecological linguistics, where the aim is to produce emergent phenomena that are recognizably language-like but cannot be traced directly to representational capacities of individual agents. He arrived at SDU in 2015 after a BA in cognitive science at Vassar College and an MPhil in linguistics at Cambridge. 
Ph.D Student Alfonso Ramírez
PhD. Student Theres Fester
Ph.D Student Malte Lebahn
Ph.D Student Line Maria Simonsen
Student Assistant Mette Nielsen