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).

Research Group on Social Interaction (RGSI)

The Reseach Group on Social Interaction (RGSI) brings together the post-doctoral researchers affiliated to the CRSI. The group aims to combine disciplinary and methodological expertises of CRSI's young researchers as a way of responding to the interdisciplinary challenges in the study of human communication.
The GRSI recurrently organizes working sessions, opended to anyone interested in participating. The next session is planned in February 2016.
If you wish to subscribe to the GRSI mailing list, please send an email to Cécile Petitjean.


On June 2nd of this year, the CRSI organized an opening meeting of the GRSI ( program ). Here are some pictures of the post-doctoral meeting that was held at Chaumont, near Neuchâtel.

Next conferences of the CRSI

Doctoral workshop "Les artéfacts technologiques au service des interactions sociales"


October 21st 2016, University of Neuchâtel






Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Tschacher (University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, university of Bern), Embodied Communication - Nonverbal Synchrony in Social Interaction




November 15th 2016, 12h15-13h45 (Faculty of Law, room D.71)




Doctoral workshop: "Processing international data with Praat and R"



November 24-25 2016, Faculty of Science (room E003)




Dr. Marisa Casillas (Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics), The development of conversational turn-taking skills




December 13th 2016, 12h15-13h45 (Faculty of Law, room D.71)




13th Speech Therapy Conference, From Interaction to Intervention: What Keys?


November 7-8 2016, Center in Speech and Language Therapy, University of Neuchâtel


Pre-program of the conference


Information & submission




International Conference "Interactional Competences and Practices in a Second Language" (ICOP-L2)


January 18-20 2017, Center for Applied Linguistics, University of Neuchâtel



Call for papers




"Methodological issues in research on L2 interactional competences and practices"



Methodological workshops organized around the ICOP-L2 Conference, in partnership with the CRSI doctoral training program.


January 18th 2017, University of Neuchâtel






International Conference "Vizualizing (in) the new media"



November 8-10 2017, University of Neuchâtel



CRSI on Facebook



Next working session in May 2016!


If you wish to subscribe to the CRSI mailing list, please send an email to Cécile Petitjean.