Workshop on Developmental and bio-inspired approaches for social cognitive robotics

September 9th 2012, Paris - France


Objectives :

This workshop aims at presenting recent researches in the fields of social cognitive neuroscience, developmental psychology and developmental robotics, which study the interplay between physical and social cognition at the brain and/or the body level and the construction of sensorimotor circuits through physical and social interactions.

Social interactions are deeply rooted to the physical world. For instance, it is known from the works of Piaget and of neo-Piagetians that infants are particularly sensitive to temporal events (contingency detection, timing, rhythm and synchrony) that occur during physical interactions and also during social interactions; e.g., infants learn to 'detect' and 'tune' their dynamics to the dynamics of others.

Meanwhile, in cognitive neuroscience, neural mechanisms relying on synchrony and on contingency detectors (temporal integration) are relatively common in the brain.

For instance, the mirror neurons found in the premotor cortex and in the posterior parietal cortex, fire at accurate timing in the same way when motion is made, observed or imagined.

It has been proposed that these neurons drive the bound to others, whilst others that they are likely to appear early during infancy when babies start learning to interact with their surrounding environment and begin to communicate non-verbally with caregivers.

For these reasons, synchrony is an important design principle for the roboticists who want to construct interactive robots that synchronize with human-partners or caregivers.

This workshop is intended for an inter-disciplinary audience and attempts to provide an equal exposure between experimental observations, robotics, theoretical and computational neuroscience models.