Norm-establishing and norm-following in autonomous agency

Together with Matthew Egbert I am about to publish in the Artificial Life Journal a paper entitled «Norm-establishing and norm-following in autonomous agency«. The paper, selected by the special issue editor from ECAL2012 conference, has taken much more effort and dedication than originally expected and we are very proud of the result. We consider it to be an important contribution to philosophy of biology and cognitive science, particularly to the organismic tradition and, more specifically, to the enactive theory and autonomous systems research. The paper illustrates with a minimal model what normativity precisely means. We believe it to be of interested to a wide audience, ranging from philosophy of science to protocell research. You can download the latest version here.
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Behavioural Metabolution

Egbert, M. D., Barandiaran, X. E., & Di Paolo, E. A. (2012). Behavioral Metabolution: The Adaptive and Evolutionary Potential of Metabolism-Based Chemotaxis. Artificial Life, 18(1), 1–25. doi:10.1162/artl_a_00047

Again, the result of another fascinating collaboration with Matthew Egbert and Ezequiel Di Paolo: what would happen if early protocells had some capacity to move? We hypothesize that early metabolic evolution might have been bootstrapped throw behaviour generating a phenomenon we have called behavioural metabolution: the push-me pull-you positive feedback effect between behavioural selection of chemical environments and the evolution of metabolic networks that in turn influence behaviour that in turn selects chemical environments. Much more on the paper, download and read it!

New IAS-Research site

Just finished developing the new site for IAS-Research Centre for Life, Mind, and Society. I hope it will be really useful to improve visibility, dissemination and internal coordination of research activity. We used WordPress as a platform with lots of very useful plugins that help generate publication lists, event’s calendars, etc. Thanks to Thomas Buhrmann for his valuable contributions to the site and GISA for the deep server infrastructure.

Modeling sensorimotor habits with neuro-robotics [Poster]

Together with Ezequiel Di Paolo I presented this poster at ESCOP2011, we present some old and new preliminary results on evolutionary robotics to ground a richer notion of habit than the one currently used in cognitive psychology and neuroscience. Click on the image below to download a PDF version of the poster.

The Future of the Embodied Mind

We have just started the eSMCs Summer School entitled The Future of the Embodied Mind. The discussion is already taking place both online and during the conference. Check out the website for more information and resources. Very exciting discussions going on, also a lot of work but the outstanding quality of speakers and participants is worth the effort.

Systematicity of thought and systemicity of habits

I just got back from the workshop «Systematicity and the post-connectionist era«, where I presented a talk entitled «From systematicity of thought to systemicity of habits«. Congratulations to the organizers for this extraordinary experience.

My talk started by assuming the real challenge of systematicity for dynamical approaches. The work of René Thom and Jean Petitot on morphodynamics and cognitive grammars serves as a powerful framework to solve this problem. In the second part of the talk I defend a contemporary re-appraisal of the notion of habit within the Piagetian framework, with illustrations from evolutionary robotics. You can download the pdf of the slides bellow:

Metastable dynamical regimes in oscillatory networks and sensorimotor loop

Santos, B., Barandiaran, X.E. & Husbands, P. (2011) Metastable dynamical regimes in oscillatory network modulated by an agent’s sensorimotor loop. Proceedings of the IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence 2011, Accepted.

New paper in collaboration with my PhD student Bruno Santos, the paper is based on a simulation of Evolutionary Robotics where the controller is a Kuromoto network of oscillators, metastable dynamic regimes of phase relation (phase locking and phase scattering) are analyzed in continuous recurrent interaction between the agent and its environment.

The adjustment-deployment dilemma in organism’s behaviour

Aguilera, M., Bedia, M.G, Barandiaran, X.E. & Serón, F. (2011) The adjustment-deployment dilemma in organism’s behaviour: theoretical characterization and a model. Proceedings of the IEEE Symposium Series on Computational Intelligence 2011, Accepted

    New paper in collaboration with Miguel Aguilera and Manuel Bedia (almost all credit should go to them), we shaped a problem of temporality of action that we named the adjustment-deployment dilemma which has received no formal treatment till now: how much time should I invest adjusting or improving an action and how much deploying or executing it?

    A minimal model of metabolism-based chemotaxis

    Egbert, M. D., Barandiaran, X. E., & Di Paolo, E. A. (2010). A Minimal Model of Metabolism-Based Chemotaxis. PLoS Comput Biol, 6(12), e1001004.

    We present the first model of metabolism-based chemotaxis that accomplishes chemotaxis without transmembrane receptors or signal transduction proteins, through the direct modulation of flagellar rotation by metabolite concentrations. The minimal model recreates chemotactic patterns found in real bacteria, illuminating some previous work metabolism-dependent chemotaxis. A nice example of the inpiration taken from an autonomous perspective on agency, linking metabolism and behaviour.

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    Phylogeny of the notion of Habit

    Together with Ezequiel Di Paolo we embarked into a historical research on the notion of Habits as theoretical building blocks for cognitive science. Far from the simplified stimulus-response pairing conception of habits defended by behaviorism, we found that habits have long been a very rich conceptual category at the root of the sciences and philosophies of mind, until very recently. Here is a preliminary graph that summarizes some of our results (that would hopefully be published as a paper some time soon):

    Phylogeny of the concept of Habit. The graph is still under development but captures the most important trends.

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