The Emergence of Action Sequences from Spatial Attention: Insight from Rodent-Like Robots

  • Ben Mitchinson
  • Martin J. Pearson
  • Anthony G. Pipe
  • Tony J. Prescott
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7375)


Animal behaviour is rich, varied, and smoothly integrated. One plausible model of its generation is that behavioural sub-systems compete to command effectors. In small terrestrial mammals, many behaviours are underpinned by foveation, since important effectors (teeth, tongue) are co-located with foveal sensors (microvibrissae, lips, nose), suggesting a central role for foveal selection and foveation in generating behaviour. This, along with research on primate visual attention, inspires an alternative hypothesis, that integrated behaviour can be understood as sequences of foveations with selection being amongst foveation targets based on their salience. Here, we investigate control architectures for a biomimetic robot equipped with a rodent-like vibrissal tactile sensing system, explicitly comparing a salience map model for action guidance with an earlier model implementing behaviour selection. Both architectures generate life-like action sequences, but in the salience map version higher-level behaviours are an emergent consequence of following a shifting focus of attention.


brain-based robotics action selection tactile sensing behavioural integration saliency map 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ben Mitchinson
    • 1
  • Martin J. Pearson
    • 2
  • Anthony G. Pipe
    • 2
  • Tony J. Prescott
    • 1
  1. 1.ATLAS Research GroupThe University of SheffieldUK
  2. 2.Bristol Robotics LaboratoryBristolUK

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