James W.A. Strachan

James W.A. Strachan

he/him 🏳️‍🌈

Italian Institute of Technology


I am a MINDED Researcher on the Marie Curie COFUND Project MINDED, working at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa, Italy. I work as part of the Cognition, Motion, and Neuroscience Unit with Professor Cristina Becchio. I am currently working on understanding how teachers adjust their actions during live pedagogical interactions to effectively structure and communicate information, with a particular focus on the role of motor variability.

Before joining IIT, I was a postdoctoral researcher in the Social Mind and Body lab at the Central European University Department of Cognitive Science with Professors Natalie Sebanz and Günther Knoblich. I completed my PhD at the University of York under the supervision of Professor Steve Tipper, looking at incidental learning of trust from gaze cues.

  • PhD in Psychology, 2017

    University of York

  • MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience, 2013

    University of York

  • BSc in Psychology, 2009

    University of York

Research Interests

Joint Action

How do we coordinate our actions with other people to achieve a joint goal?

Motor cognition

How are higher order intentions and mental states encoded and read out from movement kinematics?

Social learning

How do we acquire new skills and techniques from the people around us?


Cognition, Motion, and Neuroscience Unit; Italian Institute of Technology
Jul 2020 – Present Genoa, Italy
Postdoctoral research fellowship investigating movement-to-movement variability of upper limb kinematics in teaching interactions
Institutional webpage
MINDED Project
Social Mind and Body lab, Department of Cognitive Science, Central European University
Postdoctoral Researcher
Nov 2016 – Jun 2020 Budapest, Hungary
Postdoctoral researcher studying coordination and communication in joint action
Institutional webpage (archive)
Department of Psychology, University of York
PhD Student
Oct 2013 – Sep 2016 York, UK
Supervised by Professor Steve Tipper on thesis titled, Incidental learning of trust from identity-contingent gaze cues: boundaries, extensions and applications.
Find the thesis in the university repository

Recent Publications

See list of collaborators

(2023). Flexible Social Learning of Technical Skills: The Case of Action Coordination. In The Evolution of Techniques: Rigidity and Flexibility in Use, Transmission, and Innovation, part of the Vienna Series in Theoretical Biology, forthcoming.

Cite Project


Understanding Teaching Interactions
How do people adapt their actions in order to teach?
Understanding Teaching Interactions
Deriving Social Information from Gaze
How do we make inferences about other people based on where they look?
Deriving Social Information from Gaze
Territory and the Self
How does the social relevance of a landscape affect how we process objects?
Territory and the Self