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The emergence of action sequences from spatial\ud attention: Insight from rodent-like robots

By B. Mitchinson, M. Pearson, A. G. Pipe and T. J. Prescott


Animal behaviour is rich, varied, and smoothly integrated. One plausible model of its generation is that behavioural sub-systems compete to command effectors. In small terrestrial mammals, many behaviours are underpinned by foveation, since important effectors (teeth, tongue) are co-located with foveal sensors (microvibrissae, lips, nose), suggesting a central role for foveal selection and foveation in generating behaviour. This, along with research on primate visual attention, inspires an alternative hypothesis, that integrated behaviour can be understood as sequences of foveations with selection being amongst foveation targets based on their salience. Here, we investigate control architectures for a biomimetic robot equipped with a rodent-like vibrissal tactile sensing system, explicitly comparing a salience map model for action guidance with an earlier model implementing behaviour selection. Both architectures generate life-like action sequences, but in the salience map version higher-level behaviours are an emergent consequence of following a shifting focus of attention

Year: 2012
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