Temporal structure of neural oscillations underlying sensorimotor coordination: a theoretical approach with evolutionary robotics

Santos, Bruno Andre (2013) Temporal structure of neural oscillations underlying sensorimotor coordination: a theoretical approach with evolutionary robotics. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

The temporal structure of neural oscillations has become a widespread hypothetical
\mechanism" to explain how neurodynamics give rise to neural functions. Despite the
great number of empirical experiments in neuroscience and mathematical and computa-
tional modelling investigating the temporal structure of the oscillations, there are still
few systematic studies proposing dynamical explanations of how it operates within closed
sensorimotor loops of agents performing minimally cognitive behaviours. In this thesis
we explore this problem by developing and analysing theoretical models of evolutionary
robotics controlled by oscillatory networks. The results obtained suggest that: i) the in-
formational content in an oscillatory network about the sensorimotor dynamics is equally
distributed throughout the entire range of phase relations; neither synchronous nor desyn-
chronous oscillations carries a privileged status in terms of informational content in relation
to an agent's sensorimotor activity; ii) although the phase relations of oscillations with
a narrow frequency difference carry a relatively higher causal relevance than the rest of
the phase relations to sensorimotor coordinations, overall there is no privileged functional
causal contribution to either synchronous or desynchronous oscillations; and iii) oscilla-
tory regimes underlying functional behaviours (e.g. phototaxis, categorical perception) are
generated and sustained by the agent's sensorimotor loop dynamics, they depend not only
on the dynamic structure of a sensory input but also on the coordinated coupling of the
agent's motor-sensory dynamics. This thesis also contributes to the Coordination Dynam-
ics framework (Kelso, 1995) by analysing the dynamics of the HKB (Haken-Kelso-Bunz)
equation within a closed sensorimotor loop and by discussing the theoretical implications
of such an analysis. Besides, it contributes to the ongoing philosophical debate about
whether actions are either causally relevant or a constituent of cognitive functionalities by
bringing this debate to the context of oscillatory neurodynamics and by illustrating the
constitutive notion of actions to cognition.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Subjects: T Technology > TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery > TJ0210.2 Mechanical devices and figures. Automata. Ingenious mechanisms. Robots (General)
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2013 05:55
Last Modified: 17 Sep 2015 11:39
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/46174

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