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Profile: Giovanni Pezzulo (National Research Council of Italy)
  1. Fabian Chersi, Marcello Ferro, Giovanni Pezzulo & Vito Pirrelli (2014). Topological Self‐Organization and Prediction Learning Support Both Action and Lexical Chains in the Brain. Topics in Cognitive Science 6 (2).
    A growing body of evidence in cognitive psychology and neuroscience suggests a deep interconnection between sensory-motor and language systems in the brain. Based on recent neurophysiological findings on the anatomo-functional organization of the fronto-parietal network, we present a computational model showing that language processing may have reused or co-developed organizing principles, functionality, and learning mechanisms typical of premotor circuit. The proposed model combines principles of Hebbian topological self-organization and prediction learning. Trained on sequences of either motor or linguistic units, the (...)
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  2. Giovanni Pezzulo, Lawrence W. Barsalou, Angelo Cangelosi, Martin H. Fischer, Ken McRae & Michael Spivey (2013). Computational Grounded Cognition: A New Alliance Between Grounded Cognition and Computational Modeling. Frontiers in Psychology 3:612-612.
    Grounded theories assume that there is no central module for cognition. According to this view, all cognitive phenomena, including those considered the province of amodal cognition such as reasoning, numeric and language processing, are ultimately grounded in (and emerge from) a variety of bodily, affective, perceptual and motor processes. The development and expression of cognition is constrained by the embodiment of cognitive agents and various contextual factors (physical and social) in which they are immersed. The grounded framework has received numerous (...)
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  3. Giovanni Pezzulo & Haris Dindo (2013). Intentional Strategies That Make Co-Actors More Predictable: The Case of Signaling. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 36 (4):371-372.
    Pickering & Garrod (P&G) explain dialogue dynamics in terms of forward modeling and prediction-by-simulation mechanisms. Their theory dissolves a strict segregation between production and comprehension processes, and it links dialogue to action-based theories of joint action. We propose that the theory can also incorporate intentional strategies that increase communicative success: for example, signaling strategies that help remaining predictable and forming common ground.
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  4. Giovanni Pezzulo, Pierpaolo Iodice, Stefano Ferraina & Klaus Kessler (2013). Shared Action Spaces: A Basis Function Framework for Social Re-Calibration of Sensorimotor Representations Supporting Joint Action. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 7.
    The article explores the possibilities of formalizing and explaining the mechanisms that support spatial and social perspective alignment sustained over the duration of a social interaction. The basic proposed principle is that in social contexts the mechanisms for sensorimotor transformations and multisensory integration (learn to) incorporate information relative to the other actor(s), similar to the "re-calibration" of visual receptive fields in response to repeated tool use. This process aligns or merges the co-actors' spatial representations and creates a "Shared Action Space" (...)
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  5. Giovanni Pezzulo, Francesco Rigoli & Fabian Chersi (2013). The Mixed Instrumental Controller: Using Value of Information to Combine Habitual Choice and Mental Simulation. Frontiers in Psychology 4.
    Instrumental behavior depends on both goal-directed and habitual mechanisms of choice. Normative views cast these mechanisms in terms of model-free and model-based methods of reinforcement learning, respectively. An influential proposal hypothesizes that model-free and model-based mechanisms coexist and compete in the brain according to their relative uncertainty. In this paper we propose a novel view in which a single Mixed Instrumental Controller produces both goal-directed and habitual behavior by flexibly balancing and combining model-based and model-free computations. The Mixed Instrumental Controller (...)
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  6. Giovanni Pezzulo (2011). Grounding Procedural and Declarative Knowledge in Sensorimotor Anticipation. Mind and Language 26 (1):78-114.
    We propose a view of embodied representations that is alternative to both symbolic/linguistic approaches and purely sensorimotor views of cognition, and can account for procedural and declarative knowledge manipulation. In accordance with recent evidence in cognitive neuroscience and psychology, we argue that anticipatory and simulative mechanisms, which arose during evolution for action control and not for cognition, determined the first form of representational content and were exapted for increasingly sophisticated cognitive uses. In particular, procedural and declarative forms of knowledge can (...)
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  7. Giovanni Pezzulo (2011). Shared Representations as Coordination Tools for Interaction. Review of Philosophy and Psychology 2 (2):303-333.
    Why is interaction so simple? This article presents a theory of interaction based on the use of shared representations as “coordination tools” (e.g., roundabouts that facilitate coordination of drivers). By aligning their representations (intentionally or unintentionally), interacting agents help one another to solve interaction problems in that they remain predictable, and offer cues for action selection and goal monitoring. We illustrate how this strategy works in a joint task (building together a tower of bricks) and discuss its requirements from a (...)
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  8. Giovanni Pezzulo, Lawrence W. Barsalou, Angelo Cangelosi, Martin H. Fischer, Michael Spivey & Ken McRae (2011). The Mechanics of Embodiment: A Dialog on Embodiment and Computational Modeling. Frontiers in Psychology 2.
    Embodied theories are increasingly challenging traditional views of cognition by arguing that conceptual representations that constitute our knowledge are grounded in sensory and motor experiences, and processed at this sensorimotor level, rather than being represented and processed abstractly in an amodal conceptual system. Given the established empirical foundation, and the relatively underspecified theories to date, many researchers are extremely interested in embodied cognition but are clamouring for more mechanistic implementations. What is needed at this stage is a push toward explicit (...)
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  9. Giovanni Pezzulo & Cristiano Castelfranchi (2009). Thinking as the Control of Imagination: A Conceptual Framework for Goal-Directed Systems. Psychological Research 73 (4):559-577.
    This paper offers a conceptual framework which (re)integrates goal-directed control, motivational processes, and executive functions, and suggests a developmentalpathway from situated action to higher level cognition. We first illustrate a basic computational (control-theoretic) model of goal-directed action that makes use of internalmodeling. We then show that by adding the problem of selection among multiple actionalternatives motivation enters the scene, and that the basic mechanisms of executivefunctions such as inhibition, the monitoring of progresses, and working memory, arerequired for this system to (...)
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  10. Giovanni Pezzulo (2008). Coordinating with the Future: The Anticipatory Nature of Representation. [REVIEW] Minds and Machines 18 (2):179-225.
    Humans and other animals are able not only to coordinate their actions with their current sensorimotor state, but also to imagine, plan and act in view of the future, and to realize distal goals. In this paper we discuss whether or not their future-oriented conducts imply (future-oriented) representations. We illustrate the role played by anticipatory mechanisms in natural and artificial agents, and we propose a notion of representation that is grounded in the agent’s predictive capabilities. Therefore, we argue that the (...)
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  11. Giovanni Pezzulo & Gianguglielmo Calvi (2005). Dynamic Computation and Context Effects in the Hybrid Architecture Akira. In. In B. Kokinov A. Dey (ed.), Modeling and Using Context. Springer. 368--381.
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