To find how autonomous behavior and its development can be realized by a brain or an artificial neural network is a fundamental challenge for neuroscience and robotics. Commonly, the self-organized unfolding of behavior is explained by postulating special concepts like internal drives, curiosity, specific reward systems, or selective pressures. We propose a simple, local, and biologically plausible synaptic mechanism that enables an embodied agent to self-organize its individual sensorimotor development without recourse to such higher-level constructs. When applied to robotic systems, a rich spectrum of rhythmic behaviors emerges, ranging from locomotion patterns to spontaneous cooperation between partners. A possible utilization of our novel mechanism in nature would lead to a new understanding of the early stages of sensorimotor development and of leaps in evolution.
Paper: R. Der and G. Martius. Novel plasticity rule can explain the development of sensorimotor intelligence. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2015. . [ bib | DOI | http | arXiv ]
See also the Supplementary page.