Using motor babbling and Hebb rules for modeling the development of reaching with obstacles and grasping

An influential hypothesis of developmental psychology states that, in the first months of their life, infants perform exploratory/random movements ("motor babbling") in order to create associations between such movements and the resulting perceived effects. These associations are later used as building blocks to tackle more complex sensorimotor behaviours. Due to its underlying simplicity, motor babbling might be a learning strategy widely used in the early phases of child development. Various models of this process have been proposed that focus on the acquisition of reaching skills based on the synchronous association between the positions of the postures that cause them. This research tries to understand, on a computational basis, if the principles underlying motor babbling can be extended to the acquisition of behaviours more complex than reaching, such as the execution of non-linear movement trajectories for avoiding obstacles or the acquisition of movements directed to grasp objects. These behaviours are challenging for motor babbling as they involve the execution of movements, or sequences of movements, in time, and so they cannot be learned on the basis of simple synchronous associations between their neural representations and perceptive neural representations. The paper aims to show that infants might still use motor babbling for the development of these behaviours by overcoming its time-limits on the basis of complementary mechanisms such as Pattern Generators and innate reflexes. The computational viability of this hypothesis is demonstrated by testing the proposed models with a 3D simulated dynamic eye-arm-hand robot working on a plane.

Publication type: 
Contributo in atti di convegno
Author or Creator: 
Caligiore D.
Ferrauto T.
Parisi D.
Accornero N.
Capozza M.
Baldassarre G.
International Conference on Cognitive Systems (CogSys2008), Karlsruhe, Germany, 2-4/04/2008
Resource Identifier:
ISTC Author: 
Daniele Caligiore's picture
Real name: