Sensorimotor Contingencies as a Key Drive of Development: From Babies to Robots

Much current work in robotics focuses on the development of robots capable of autonomous unsupervised learning. An essential prerequisite for such learning to be possible is that the agent should be sensitive to the link between its actions and the consequences of its actions, called sensorimotor contingencies. This sensitivity, and more particularly its role as a key drive of development, has been widely studied by developmental psychologists. However, the results of these studies may not necessarily be accessible or intelligible to roboticians. In this paper, we review the main experimental data demonstrating the role of sensitivity to sensorimotor contingencies in infants' acquisition of four fundamental motor and cognitive abilities: body knowledge, memory, generalization, and goal-directedness. We relate this data from developmental psychology to work in robotics, highlighting the links between these two domains of research. In the last part of the article we present a blueprint architecture demonstrating how exploitation of sensitivity to sensorimotor contingencies, combined with the notion of "goal," allows an agent to develop new sensorimotor skills. This architecture can be used to guide the design of specific computational models, and also to possibly envisage new empirical experiments.

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Jacquey, Lisa
Baldassarre, Gianluca
Santucci, Vieri Giuliano
O'Regan, J. Kevin
Frontiers Research Foundation,, Lausanne , Svizzera
Frontiers in neurorobotics 13 (2019). doi:10.3389/fnbot.2019.00098
info:cnr-pdr/source/autori:Jacquey, Lisa; Baldassarre, Gianluca; Santucci, Vieri Giuliano; O'Regan, J. Kevin/titolo:Sensorimotor Contingencies as a Key Drive of Development: From Babies to Robots/doi:10.3389/fnbot.2019.00098/rivista:Frontiers in neurorobo
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