Time Scales of Sensorimotor Contingencies

  • Alexander Maye
  • Andreas K. Engel
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7366)


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.


Sensory Modality Sensory Signal Acceleration Peak Current Consumption Computerize Thought 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander Maye
    • 1
  • Andreas K. Engel
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Neurophysiology and PathophysiologyUniversity Medical Center Hamburg-EppendorfHamburgGermany

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