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Computational modeling of the Active Self (KogWis2022 Symposium)

 Organizers: Prof. Nele Rußwinkel (TU Berlin) & Prof. Stefan Kopp (U Bielefeld)

The Active Self is commonly conceived as a concept related to one’s phenomenal experience when acting in the here and now, and to the question of how we perceive ourselves to be in a particular situation. Research into this topic has gained considerable momentum and involves cognitive and behavioural science, psychology, neuroscience, robotics and other disciplines. What mechanisms are responsible for the plasticity of our self-representation and sensitivity to immediate experience? How are experiences of agency and ownership during motor action integrated into a minimal concept of an Active Self? How does the Active Self interact with and affect other cognitive processes? These are general questions that research in this area poses. Besides theoretical discussion and approaches to measure it empirically, computational modelling of the cognitive and embodied processes underlying action control, motor learning, or multi-sensory perception has started to shed additional light on these questions. And, such modelling approaches open up new possibilities for interdisciplinary exchange about concepts and theories as every modelled aspect or mechanism has a specific, testable instantiation.

In this symposium, different aspects of how computational models can help to elevate our understanding of the Active Self will be presented and discussed. Topics covered may include how controllability can be perceived and achieved, how a self can be maintained under external disturbances, how a neurological plausible model can explain effects of the active self, how symbolic and sub-symbolic implementations can be integrated, and how the self is involved in anticipating own but also others’ actions. The different talks will be presented, each addressing the following questions for its particular modelling perspective:

  • What aspect(s) of the active self is addressed in the modelling approach, and what do we learn from that approach?
  • Why was that particular modelling method chosen to address this problem?
  • How can other researches benefit from this model?
  • Under which circumstances is it necessary or beneficial, to relate different modelling approaches to each other or integrate them?

The confirmed list of speakers includes Prof. Verena Haffner (HU Berlin), Prof. Gregor Schöner (Ruhr-Universität Bochum), Prof. Martin Butz (Uni. Tübingen) and a joint talk by the organizers. Together they will represent an overview of research in the current DFG priority program on the Active Self. A general discussion at the end of the symposium will identify links and provide a broader thematic elaboration of overarching aspects.

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