Performance and Cognition (P&C)2021-11-03T13:49:57+00:00

Performance and Cognition (P&C)

Research Group Coordinator: Carla Montez Fernandes

This research group studies how the dimensions of cognition, representation and performance strongly structure communication.

Communication processes are not straightforward: they involve exchange and interference, feedback and double-bind, ambivalence, cunning, seduction, persuasion, representation. The action developed before others becomes acting. Dramatic structures and strategies are present at all levels of communication.

NOVA FCSH has pioneered this approach since it created in 1993 a degree course in Communication Studies entitled “Theories of Drama and Performance”, and in 2008 a Master in Performing Arts. Research has been developed at different research centers and can now be put together, creating new developments and synergies. It focuses on:

1) how to enhance presence to obtain a better performativity; the tension between organicity and artificiality within presence;

2) how decisions are taken in creative environments; the dynamic character of multimodal communication (the study of language in all its modalities in human interaction, including speech, gesture and other full body movements or postures), thus contributing to a wider understanding of language (both verbal and non-verbal) and, consequently, of the complexity of the human mind;

3) the archeology of Portuguese performance art and of performativity in arts; political performance and artivism; how documentation is inherent to performance in a mediated world;

4) the relations between diverse performative media.

Future research will also develop: the presence of the foreigner in diverse environments; transgression of genres and frontiers in contemporary culture; performance for the camera.

This group includes a research Lab, BlackBox: Arts&Cognition Lab (more info at, which works with invited performing artists to analyse and document their unique compositional processes, by crossing the insights of contemporary creators with theories from Human Interaction, Gesture Studies, Cognitive Science and Computer Vision.

Latest articles

Read all articles