Centre for Research on Social Interactions

The Centre for Research on Social Interactions (CRSI) was born of long-standing interdisciplinary and inter-faculty collaborations in the University, around the study of interpersonal interaction processes

You will find below a general presentation of the CRSI and an overview of the transversal topics studied by the institutes affiliated to the centre.

Research fields of the CRSI

  • General presentation of the CRSI
    The Centre for Research on Social Interactions (CRSI) was born of long-standing interdisciplinary and inter-faculty collaborations in the University, around the study of interpersonal interaction processes. The CRSI is one of the nine “centres of competence” supported by the University of Neuchâtel.
    The Centre aims to produce and promote interdisciplinary research on social interactions and to contribute to the training of young scientists. The projects undertaken by the 6 research groups in the Centre target key social issues:
    • Trajectories of young people (education and professional insertion);
    • Work processes (group coordination, hierarchy management, and task resolution using collaborative processes);
    • Effectiveness of institutional functioning (performance, conflicts and negotiations);
    • Relationships between individuals and institutions.
    These issues are analyzed in a variety of empirical fields (business, school, health care institutions, courts, and public institutions in general) whose complexity requires interdisciplinary investigations based on combined research methodologies.
    The researchers gathered at the center share a common view on social interaction that highlights three transversal scientific concerns:
    • Social interactions constitute a locus where knowledge, symbolic references, interpersonal relationships, and the functioning of institutions and social traditions are constructed, negotiated and reproduced;
    • Relationships between individuals and institutions (are negotiated and) evolve through empirically observable social practices;
    • Interactional competence as social capital.
    These concerns meet current questions of fundamental and applied research on the relationship between inter-individual social practices and institutional frameworks, and the construction and circulation of knowledge.
  • Social interaction and educational settings
    This line of research focuses on communicational issues in educational settings, from fine-grained analyses of interactional resources that participants mobilize in classroom interactions (e.g. students' claims of non-knowledge) to studies on how knowledge is built and displayed in instructed and non-instructed learning contexts (e.g. the role of collaborative tasks on children' cognitive development in class). These different lines of research jointly work to a better understanding of how the organization of talk-in-interaction impacts educational conducts and learning opportunities.
    Here are some examples of works by CRIS' members:
    • Apprendre et raisonner : approche développementale et socio-cognitive du rôle des situations collectives et individuelles d'apprentissage (Romain Boissonnade, post-doctoral researcher at the Institute of Psychology and Education, http://doc.rero.ch/record/30374)
    • Cultures épistémiques à l’école : La gestion interactionnelle des manifestations de non-savoir dans la parole scolaire (Virginie Degoumois, doctoral student at the Center for applied linguistics, http://www2.unine.ch/islc/page-34889_fr.html)
    • Children’s acquisition of oral argumentation skills (Martin Luginbühl & Vera Mundwiler, Department for German Studies, http://www2.unine.ch/martin.luginbuehl)
    • Research project École et Sciences Cognitives (ACI) (Institute of Psychology and Education, http://www2.unine.ch/ipe/home/aci)
  • Social interaction and the new technologies of communication
    The interactional dimension of communication via new technologies is one of the main concerns of the CRSI's researchers. Some of these studies focus on the interactional conducts through which participants manage asynchronous communication (e.g. SMS, WhatsApp conversations, e-mail, chatting) and display expertise concerning the use of new technologies. Other studies deal with the impact of new communicational technologies on teaching, vocational training, and, in a more general way, on the complexification of human conducts.  
    Here are some examples of works by CRIS' members:
  • Social interaction, pathologies and clinical settings
    The CRSI supports research on the links between social interactions, pathologies and clinical settings, gathering various perspectives like psycholinguistics, speech and language therapy, psychology of work, sociology and applied linguistics. Some studies focus on how disorders like schizophrenia, pathologic aging, or speech impairments impact linguistic and communicational skills of both adults and children. Other works provide insight into the organization of medical interactions (face-to-face interactions between physicians, but also between physicians and patients). This set of studies consider social interactions as a key to better understand patients' disorders (in cognitive and social terms), but also how these disorders impact the progressivity of interaction and the management of interpersonal relationships in medical and non-medical settings. 
    Here are some examples of works led by CRIS' members:
  • Social interaction, conflict and mediation

    Interpersonal conflicts (in particular in legal and professional contexts), as well as their management, are intrinsically linked with the interactional practices through which participants display, negotiate and resolve disagreements. Some of CRSI’s members thus work on how the analysis of interactional organization allows to better understand conciliation processes between judge and justiciable. Other studies deal with disagreement in instructed language classroom interactions, focusing on how second-language speakers develop an interactional competence that allows them to manage disagreements and to minimize their impact on the progressivity of classroom activities. More generally, this research line is also linked to one of the most important concerns of the CRSI: interpersonal interactions in professional settings. 

    Here are some examples of works by CRIS' members:
    • La conciliation judiciaire civile en tension entre règlement judiciaire et règlement amiable du litige (Jonathan Jenny, doctoral student at the Research Center on Alternative and Judicial Dispute Resolution Methods)
    • Research project La structuration du discours dans l'interaction en langue première et seconde (Center for Applied Linguistics, http://www2.unine.ch/islc/page-36497.html)
For more details concerning the studies proposed by the institutes affiliated to the CRSI, please consult their websites (section “Institutes affiliated to the CRSI”, in the menu at the top left of the page).

One-day meeting between CRSI’s post-doctoral researchers

On June 2nd of this year, the CRSI organized a one-day meeting between the post-doctoral researchers affiliated to the centre ( program ). This workshop provided an overview of the theoretical and methodological skills displayed by the young researches of the CRSI. Moreover, this event opened an interdisciplinary think tank related to the methodological challenges in the analysis of social interactions. This working group will meet every two months from autumn 2015. More details will soon be available on this page. 
Meanwhile, here are some pictures of the post-doctoral meeting that was held at Chaumont, near Neuchâtel.


Next conferences of the CRSI

Prof. Amélie Achim (Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Québec, Social Cognition and Interactions Lab), La cognition sociale en contexte d'interaction: implications en schizophrénie



December 7th 2015, 12h15-13h45 (Faculty of Law, room D62)




Sandra Keller (Institute of Work and Organizational Psychology, University of Neuchâtel), Communications et distractions durant de longues opérations chirurgicales: Etude par observation au bloc opératoire



January 20th 2016, 12h15-13h45 (Faculty of Law, room D71)




Prof. Dr. Liz Holt (University of Huddersfield, School of Music, Humanities and Media), On the nature of playful and non-serious contributions to talk



February 1st 2016, 12h15-13h45 (Faculty of Law, room B29)

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