Time Scales of Sensorimotor Contingencies
In Sensorimotor Contingency Theory (SMCT) differences between the perceptual qualities of sensory modalities are explained by the different structure of dependencies between a human’s actions and the ensuing changes in sensory stimulation. It distinguishes modality-related Sensory-Motor Contingencies (SMCs), that describe the structure of changes for individual sensory modalities, and object-related SMCs, that capture the multisensory patterns caused by actions directed towards objects. These properties suggest a division of time scales in that modality-related SMCs describe the immediate effect of actions on characteristics of the sensory signal, and object-related SMCs account for sequences of actions and sensory observations. We present a computational model of SMCs that implements this distinction and allows to analyze the properties of the different SMC types. The emergence of perceptual capabilities is demonstrated in a locomotive robot controlled by this model that develops an action-based understanding for the size of its confinement without using any distance sensors.
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