About this Research Topic
The human self has many facets: there is the physical body and then there are different concepts or representations supported by processes in the brain such as the ecological, social, temporal, conceptual, and experiential self. The basis is constituted by the ecological or sensorimotor self that deals with the configuration of the body in space and its action possibilities. A number of concepts like body schema or body image were proposed to describe the “body in the brain." A closely related concept is that of peripersonal space: the space directly surrounding our bodies upon which we act and that is most relevant for our safety and for interacting with others. However, while experimental observations pertaining to these concepts are abundant, the mechanisms of body representations and their development are unclear.
Computational models that explain the operation and development of the self are scarce and address only isolated subsystems at most. Humanoid robots possess morphologies – physical characteristics as well as sensory and motor apparatus – that are in some respects akin to human bodies. To this end, the type of information processed within the sensorimotor loops is genuine to one specific physical body (morphological computation) and to its current perceptual experience within the physical environment. By doing so, robots may expand the domain of computational modeling by anchoring information processing into one embodied and situated agent.
This Research Topic invites contributions from all the disciplines dealing with the self (in particular psychology, neuroscience, computational and robotic modeling work) and interdisciplinary approaches.
This special topic will build on the discussion and experience matured in the 2017 workshop on The Development of the Self: from self-perception to interaction under uncertainty held at the 7th Joint IEEE International Conference on Development and Learning and on Epigenetic Robotics in Lisbon, and the 2016 workshop on The development of body knowledge in humans and machines held at the The Sixth Joint IEEE International Conference Developmental Learning and Epigenetic Robotics in Cergy-Pontoise.
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