There is converging evidence from developmental and cognitive psychology, as well as from neuroscience, to suggest that the self is both special and social, and that self-other interaction is the driving force behind self-development. We review experimental findings which demonstrate that human infants are motivated for social interactions and suggest that the development of an awareness of other minds is rooted in the implicit notion that others are like the self. We then marshal evidence from functional neuroimaging explorations of the (...) neurophysiological substrate of shared representations between the self and others, using various ecological paradigms such as mentally representing one's own actions versus others' actions, watching the actions executed by others, imitating the others' actions versus being imitated by others. We suggest that within this shared neural network the inferior parietal cortex and the prefrontal cortex in the right hemisphere play a special role in the essential ability to distinguish the self from others, and in the way the self represents the other. Interestingly, the right hemisphere develops its functions earlier than the left. (shrink)
The classical experimental methodology is ill-suited for the investigation of the behavioral and physiological correlates of natural social interactions. A new experimental approach combining a natural conversation between two persons with control conditions is proposed in this paper. Behavior, including gaze direction and speech, and physiology, including electrodermal activity, are recorded during a discussion between two participants through videoconferencing. Control for the social aspect of the interaction is provided by the use of an artificial agent and of videoed conditions. A (...) cover story provides spurious explanations for the purpose of the experiment and for the recordings, as well as a controlled and engaging topic of discussion. Preprocessing entails transforming raw measurements into boxcar and delta functions time series indicating when a certain behaviour or physiological event is present. The preliminary analysis presented here consists in finding statistically significant differences between experimental conditions in the temporal associations between behavioral and physiological time series. Significant results validate the experimental approach and further developments including more elaborate analysis and adaptation of the paradigm to functional MRI are discussed. (shrink)
Here, we propose that bidirectionality in implicit motor coordination between humanoid robots and humans could enhance the social competence of human–robot interactions. We first detail some questions pertaining to human–robot interactions, introducing the Uncanny Valley hypothesis. After introducing a framework pertinent for the understanding of natural social interactions, motor resonance, we examine two behaviors derived from this framework: motor coordination, investigated in and informative about human–human interaction, and motor interference, which demonstrate the relevance of the motor resonance framework to describe (...) human perception of humanoid robots. These two lines of investigation are then put together to “close the loop” by proposing to implement a key feature of motor coordination, bidirectionality, in robots’ behavior. Finally, we discuss the feasibility of implementing motor coordination between humanoid robots and humans, and the consequences of this implementation in enhancing the social competence of robots interacting with humans. Keywords: interpersonal interaction, motor resonance, motor coordination, motor interference, social robotics, anthropomorphism. (shrink)
In recent years, neurophysiological evidence has accumulated in favor of a common coding between perception and execution of action. We review findings from recent neuroimaging experiments in the action domain with three complementary perspectives: perception of action, covert action triggered by perception, and reproduction of perceived action (imitation). All studies point to the parietal cortex as a key region for body movement representation, both observed and performed.
In so-called ethorobotics and robot-supported social cognitive neurosciences, robots are used as scientific tools to study animal behavior and cognition. Building on previous epistemological analyses of biorobotics, in this article it is argued that these two research fields, widely differing from one another in the kinds of robots involved and in the research questions addressed, share a common methodology, which significantly differs from the “synthetic method” that, until recently, dominated biorobotics. The methodological novelty of this strategy, the research opportunities that (...) it opens, and the theoretical and technological challenges that it gives rise to, will be discussed with reference to the peculiarities of the two research fields. Some broad methodological issues related to the generalization of results concerning robot-animal interaction to theoretical conclusions on animal-animal interaction will be identified and discussed. (shrink)