20th Herbstakademie Freiburg 2019: Synchronization in Embodied Interaction

It is part of the series of Herbstakademie meetings dedicated to the topic of complex systems in psychology, social sciences and the humanities. The conference will take place in the spring of next year (February 28 – March 2, 2019). It will be hosted by the University of Freiburg, Germany, and supported by the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS) (https://www.frias.uni-freiburg.de/en/funding-programmes/foci/synchronization-in-embodied-interaction).

Information on the upcoming and on previous meetings of the Herbstakademie community is provided here: http://www.upd.unibe.ch/research/symposien.html.



New article on entraining chaotic dynamics

Dobri’s study, in which many of our group got involved as participants, has finally been published!

Dr. Tom Froese

We show that it is possible for a participant to interactively control a chaotic system by entraining with its dynamics, with the effect that they become more regular while the participant becomes more chaotic.

This has implications both for researchers interested in controlling chaotic systems, and also for practitioners in movement rehabilitation.

Entraining chaotic dynamics: A novel movement sonification paradigm could promote generalization

Dobromir Dotov and Tom Froese

Tasks encountered in daily living may have instabilities and more dimensions than are sampled by the senses such as when carrying a cup of coffee and only the surface motion and overall momentum are sensed, not the fluid dynamics. Anticipating non-periodic dynamics is difficult but not impossible because mutual coordination allows for chaotic processes to synchronize to each other and become periodic. A chaotic oscillator with random period and amplitude affords being stabilized onto a periodic trajectory by a weak input if…

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New paper on iterated learning at the origins of life

Many thanks to Jorge for all of his hard work in generating the results that formed the basis for this new paper on the origins of the genetic code!

Dr. Tom Froese

Jorge, Nathaniel and I have published an extension of our iterated learning approach to the origins of the genetic code in the Proceedings of the Artificial Life Conference 2018. We unexpectedly found that the most likely sequences in which amino acids get incorporated into the emerging genetic codes in our simulation model exhibit a remarkable overlap with the sequence predicted in the literature based on empirical considerations.

We will present this work at the ALIFE conference in Tokyo as part of the special session on “Hybrid Life: Approaches to integrate biological, artificial and cognitive systems”.

An iterated learning approach to the origins of the standard genetic code can help to explain its sequence of amino acid assignments

Tom Froese, Jorge I. Campos, and Nathaniel Virgo

Artificial life has been developing a behavior-based perspective on the origins of life, which emphasizes the adaptive potential of agent-environment interaction even at that…

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Psychological study on chaos control

Here is a little summary of the results of the study that Dobri conducted in our group!

Dr. Tom Froese

Dobri Dotov and I have published an extended abstract in the Proceedings of the Artificial Life Conference 2018 about the study that he realized at UNAM. We suggest that the results have implications for how we should think about how to stabilize the behavior of complex adaptive systems with which we can interact.

We will present this work at the ALIFE conference in Tokyo as part of the special session on “ALife and Society: Transcending the artificial-natural divide”.

Mutual synchronization and control between artificial chaotic system and human

Dobromir Dotov and Tom Froese

Dexterous assistive devices constitute one of the frontiers for hybrid human-machine systems. Manipulating unstable systems requires task-specific anticipatory dynamics. Learning this dynamics is more difficult when tasks, such as carrying liquid or riding a horse, produce unpredictable, irregular patterns of feedback and have hidden dimensions not projected as sensory feedback. We addressed the issue of coordination with…

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CALL FOR PAPERS. Special Issue of the Journal Synthese: RADICAL VIEWS ON COGNITION

Guest Editor(s): Marcos Silva (Federal University of Alagoas) and Francicleber Ferreira
(Federal University of Ceará)

Special Issue Description:

Several contemporary philosophers have been developing tenets in pragmatism (broadly construed) to motivate it as an alternative philosophical foundation for a comprehensive understanding of cognition, opposed to a far-reaching representationalist tradition.
This long-established representationalist tradition in philosophy of mind and cognitive science defends that cognition is fundamentally content-involving. On the other side, some radical contenders advocate that cognition is neither basically representational nor does it involve, as in usual internalist views, processing or manipulating informational contents. They call attention to the importance of inherited and embodied practices and social interactions in order to understand relevant topics in perception, language and the nature of intentionality. They take seriously evolving biological systems and situated individuals interacting in communities over time as preconditions of our rationality, features often dismissed as not central in the representationalist and internalist tradition.


Fully funded PhD Studentship in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, supervised by Dr Matthew Egbert

Project: Simulating the behaviour of proto-cells
What was the first organism? Amazing advances have been made in understanding how life’s molecular building blocks first emerged, but it remains unclear what caused these molecules to develop into a first integrated organism. In this project, we will develop computational simulations of protocells and related dissipative structures to investigate the possibility that the organism-like behaviours demonstrated by simple non-living physical structures facilitated the earliest stages of life’s evolution. The development of these models and simulations will be conducted alongside real-world experimental work done locally and with international collaborators.


Special Issue on “Computational Models of Affordance for Robotics”. CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS

Gibson’s theory of affordance, in its adherence to bottom-up direct perception, is antithetical to the top-down inferential models often proposed by modern robotics research purporting to tackle it. Such research assumes internal representation to be sacrosanct, but given current developments, to what extent can this assumption now be re-examined? The recently proposed sensorimotor contingency theory furthers the theoretical argument that internal representation is unnecessary, and its proof- of-concept application in robotics as well as the subsequent explosion in deep learning methodology sheds new light on the possibility of equipping robots with the capacity for directly perceiving their environments by exploiting correlated changes in their sensory inputs triggered by executing specific motor programs. This re-examination of direct perception is only one of several issues warranting scrutiny in current robotic affordance research.

The aim of this special issue is to highlight the relevance of Gibson’s notion of affordance for developmental and cognitive robotics. The issue is focused on contributions from the current panorama of robotics with an emphasis on theories from the ecological, cognitive, developmental and sensorimotor accounts.

Time, the Body, and the Other: Phenomenological and Psychopathological Approaches. 13th-15th September 2018, Heidelberg


This conference aims at exploring and discussing the intertwinement of temporality, embodiment and intersubjectivity from phenomenological and psychopathological approaches.

Explorations of the phenomenology of time have most often been accomplished from the first-person perspective of consciousness (Husserl) or existential philosophy (Heidegger). There exists, however, significant work on bodily subjectivity, intercorporeality and their temporal dimension as, for instance, by Maurice-Merleau-Ponty or Michel Henry. Nevertheless, a fundamental investigation into the constitutive interrelationship of bodily existence, its temporal dynamics and its interpersonal embeddedness is still a desideratum. It is the target of the conference to explore these dimensions by means of phenomenological and psychopathological methods.


ENSO Seminar Series: Dan D. Hutto. Beyond Content: Explications, Motivations and Implications

Beyond Content: Explications, Motivations and Implications

Dan D. Hutto

University of Wollongong
April 4, 2018, 11 p.m. UTC // April 4, 2018, 6 p.m. in America/Mexico_City

Radically Enactive Cognition, or REC, proposes that cognition is best modelled on the activities of living systems. It construes cognition as fundamentally interactive, dynamic and relational. Controversially, REC also holds that in its most basic form cognition is not content-involving: it is neither representational at root, nor does it involve picking up and processing informational contents that are used, stored and reused to get cognitive work done. This presentation situates our evolving account of REC within the wider theoretical landscape. It will: (1) clarify how REC understands the thesis that basic cognition lacks content; (2) review reasons that motivate adopting that thesis, so construed; and (3) outline the theoretical consequences of such adoption, including some of the questions and new lines of research it inspires.

Event page: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cl_UHKnwJf0