The aim of this strategic research area is to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms that allow humans, animals and artificial systems to act autonomously in complex environments and to communicate with each other. The heart of this strategic research area is the Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC) Cluster of Excellence. While the CITEC Cluster involves researchers from computer science, biology, psychology, sports science, and linguistics, the strategic research area reaches out beyond these disciplines to include health sciences, law, sociology, business administration and economics as well as philosophy with a focus on the impact of technical interactive intelligent systems on all relevant societal domains. There is close cooperation with national and international strategic partners both from industry and from the public sector (e.g. Miele, Bertelsmann, Honda, the von Bodelschwingh Foundation and international partners in the DAAD-funded Thematic Network Interactive Intelligent Systems).