On the Sense of Agency and of Object Permanence in Robots

S. Bechtle (Bernstein Center for Computational
Neuroscience), G. Schillaci, and V. V. Hafner (Humboldt Universität zu Berlin)

Joint IEEE International Conference on Development and Learning and on Epigenetic Robotics (ICDL-EPIROB), Paris, France, Sept. 19-22, 2016
[showhide type=”Abstract”] Abstract: This work investigates the development of the sense of object permanence in humanoid robots. Based on findings from developmental psychology and from neuroscience, we link the mechanisms behind the development of the sense of object permanence to those behind the development of sense of agency and to processes of internal simulation of sensory activity. In this paper, we present two experiments. First, a humanoid robot has to learn the forward relationship between its movements and their sensory consequences perceived from the visual input. In particular, we implement a self-monitoring mechanism that allows the robot to distinguish between self-generated movements and those generated by external events. In a second experiment, once having learned this mapping, we exploit the self-monitoring mechanism to suppress the predicted visual consequences of intended movements. We speculate that this process can allow for the development of the sense of object permanence. We will show that, using these predictions, the robot maintains an enhanced simulated image where an object occluded by the movement of the robot arm is still visible, due to sensory attenuation processes.[/showhide]
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Paper: Paper_EPIROB_2016_UBER_SB