The Cognitive Foundations of Networked Flow: Intentions, Presence, and Social Presence
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What makes a subject “present” within a group? Is to enough to physically be with the other group members in order to be “in”? And what happens when the others are not with me physically, such as in a chat room? Why are not all groups the same? Why are there groups in which people are able to make the most of their potential, while in others the subject feels closed in and crushed? Finally, what makes a group creative and productive? In this chapter, we will try to answer all of these questions, and the starting point of our analysis are the concepts of “presence” and “social presence”: 1. “Presence” is defined as the non-mediated (prereflexive) perception of successfully transforming intentions in action (enaction) within an external world; 2. “Social Presence” is defined as the non-mediated perception of an enacting other (I can recognize his/her intentions) within an external world. Thanks to these two concepts, it is possible to demonstrate that not all groups have the same creative potential: it is above all those groups characterized by an optimal group experience—networked flow—that generate innovations which result as being particularly original. Specifically, an optimal personal experience—characterized by high levels of presence and social presence—produces memes that are used by the group to define its own culture (subculture). When these memes are internalized by most individuals, through imitation and communication, they modify and shape the culture and the behavior of the individuals.