Action Selection and Operant Conditioning: A Neurorobotic Implementation

André Cyr, Frédéric Thériault
2015 Journal of Robotics  
Action selection (AS) is thought to represent the mechanism involved by natural agents when deciding what should be the next move or action. Is there a functional elementary core sustaining this cognitive process? Could we reproduce the mechanism with an artificial agent and more specifically in a neurorobotic paradigm? Unsupervised autonomous robots may require a decision-making skill to evolve in the real world and the bioinspired approach is the avenue explored through this paper. We propose
more » ... s paper. We propose simulating an AS process by using a small spiking neural network (SNN) as the lower neural organisms, in order to control virtual and physical robots. We base our AS process on a simple central pattern generator (CPG), decision neurons, sensory neurons, and motor neurons as the main circuit components. As novelty, this study targets a specific operant conditioning (OC) context which is relevant in an AS process; choices do influence future sensory feedback. Using a simple adaptive scenario, we show the complementarity interaction of both phenomena. We also suggest that this AS kernel could be a fast track model to efficiently design complex SNN which include a growing number of input stimuli and motor outputs. Our results demonstrate that merging AS and OC brings flexibility to the behavior in generic dynamical situations.
doi:10.1155/2015/643869 fatcat:vtbwlm4ra5alhnjhjiktzs4erm