It's a child's game: Investigating cognitive development with playing robots

Conference Proceeding/Paper | Published | English
Johansson, Birger ; Balkenius, Christian
Cognitive Science
Functional zoology
To study and simulate cognitive development, it is useful to find a natural domain where many cognitive functions are needed and, but where the complexity of the environment and task is reasonable. We suggest that childrens games constitute a suitable domain. The ability to play is a very fundamental part of children's daily life and it is crucial for the future development of our behaviors in Bekoff and Byers (1998). In the individual domain, the coordination of the body is an important feature of play. When a child plays, it refines its motor and sensory skills and develops more advanced movement patterns e.g. in running or cycling. When playing among other individuals, cognitive functions for social interactions and coordination and emotional control are also used. Trafton et al. (2003) programmed a robot to model a 3-4 year old child playing hide and seek. The robot moves around in their laboratory and tries to hide behind different objects and learn which hiding places what are good ones. Games like hide and seek, tag and other popular children's games were used. By bringing the best developmental and learning models together, hopes to find out more about the mechanisms of cognitive development
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