The Animals to Animats Conference brings together researchers from ethology, psychology, ecology, artificial intelligence, artificial life, robotics, engineering, and related fields to further understanding of the behaviors and underlying mechanisms that allow natural and synthetic agents (animats) to adapt and survive in uncertain environments. The work presented focuses on well-defined models—robotic, computer-simulation, and mathematical—that help to characterize and compare various organizational principles or architectures underlying adaptive behavior in both natural animals and animats.
Comparative Approaches to Cognitive Science consolidates a series of recent advances in cognitive science, describing a novel, animal-based, largely nonsymbolic approach to understanding basic mechanisms in adaptive intelligence. Scholars who are at the cutting edge of their disciplines clearly explain their concepts and techniques in twenty contributions that provide a balance of both theoretical and empirical approaches.
The essays are tied together by the idea that our understanding of cognition is likely to be enhanced by consideration of mechanisms and processes at its foundation—mechanisms that are shared by both human and nonhuman animals—and which may be implemented and tested in some simulated animals or built robots.
The themes described in the book include considerations of the perceptual and motor abilities of animals as the evolutionary and conceptual foundation of more complex abilities; modeling focused as much on connections and constraints as on language and symbols; an interest in simple adaptive processes in animals and robots as the basis for more complex forms of learning and adaptation; and a consideration of animals and robots as integrated and situated systems in contrast to the reductionist and environment-free frameworks often seen in standard cognitive science.A part of the book considers the question of intentionality in animals—whether they "know they know," or have beliefs—and how that might implicate behavior. Other sections address how representation, communication, motivation, and emotion affect behavior.
Contributors: C. Allen. M. Bekoff. M.A. Boden. W.T. Bourbon. G. Butterworth. P.W. Cheng. J. Delacour. D.C. Dennett. M. Dyer. C.S. Evans. N. Frijda. J.P. Halperin. K.J. Holyoak. P. Marler. D. MacFarland. B.W. Mel. J.-A. Meyer. J. Neiworth. H.L. Roitblat. C. Thinus-Blanc. R.K.R. Thompson. F. Toates.
More than sixty contributions in From Animals to Animats2 by researchers in ethology, ecology, cybernetics, artificial intelligence, robotics, and related fields investigate behaviors and the underlying mechanisms that allow animals and, potentially, robots to adapt and survive in uncertain environments. Jean-Arcady Meyer is Director of Research, CNRS, Paris. Herbert L. Roitblat is Professor of Psychology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Stewart W. Wilson is a scientist at The Rowland Institute for Science, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Topics covered: The Animat Approach to Adaptive Behavior. Perception and Motor Control. Action Selection and Behavioral Sequences. Cognitive Maps and Internal World Models. Learning. Evolution. Collective Behavior.