Morana Alac 

Morana Alac University of California, San Diego
Department of Communication, 0503
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0503

(858) 534-7229
Fax: (858) 534-7315

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Morana Alac is trained in semiotics (with Umberto Eco) and cognitive science (with Ed Hutchins). Her research deals with ordinary, interactional and practical aspects of science. In particular, she is interested in the ways in which scientists study cognition in environments heavily sustained by advanced technologies - brain imaging and machine learning laboratories. By looking at live activities in the laboratories, Alac pays particular attention to the interface between the body and technology. She thinks about that interface in terms of dynamic, embodied, semiotic enactments constitutive of scientists' action and interaction.


Ph.D. in Semiotics, University of Bologna (2002); Ph.D. in Cognitive Science, University of California, San Diego (2006)

Selected Publications

  • Morana Alac: Handling Digital Brains: A Laboratory Study of Multimodal Semiotic Interaction in the Age of Computers, MIT Press, 2011.
  • Morana Alac: "Moving Android: On Social Robots and Body-in-Interaction", Social Studies of Science, 39/4, 2009, 491-528.
  • Morana Alac: "Working with Brain Scans: Digital Images and Gestural Interaction in fMRI Laboratory", Social Studies of Science, 38/4, 2008, 483-508.
  • Morana Alac: "From Trash to Treasure: Learning about the Brain Images through Multimodality", Semiotica, 156-1/4, 2005, pp. 177-202.
  • Morana Alac: "Negotiating Pictures of Numbers", Journal of Social Epistemology, 18:2, 2004, pp. 199-214.
  • Morana Alac & Edwin Hutchins: "I See What You are Saying: Action as Cognition in fMRI Brain Mapping Practice", Journal of Cognition and Culture, 4:3, 2004, pp. 629-661.