This work investigates the development of the sense of agency and of object permanence in humanoid robots. Based on findings from developmental psychology and from neuroscience, development of sense of object permanence is linked to development of sense of agency and to processes of internal simulation of sensor activity. In the course of the work, two sets of experiments will be presented, in the first set a humanoid robot has to learn the forward relationship between its movements and their sensory consequences perceived from the visual input. In particular, a self-monitoring mechanism was implemented that allows the robot to distinguish between self-generated movements and those generated by external events. In a second experiment, once having learned this mapping, the self-monitoring mechanism is exploited to suppress the predicted visual consequences of intended movements. The speculation is made that this process can allow for the development of sense of object permanence. It will be shown, that using these predictions, the robot maintains an enhanced simulated image where an object occluded by the movement of the robot arm is still visible, due to sensory attenuation processes.
Biography: After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in media-informatics from the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität in Munich, I continued my academic studies with a Master of Science degree in computational neuroscience at the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience in Berlin where I focused on reserach in cognitive and developmental robotics. In 2017 I worked at Caltech as a reserach intern in the computer vision group working on topics of fine grained classification. Right now I am interning at the Nasa Jet Propulsion Laboratory and working on human robot interfaces.