Lorentz Center - Perspectives on Developmental Robotics from 15 May 2017 through 19 May 2017
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    Perspectives on Developmental Robotics
    from 15 May 2017 through 19 May 2017


Perspectives on Developmental Robotics

15 – 19 May 2017 @Oort


The rapidly growing field of Developmental Robotics has two objectives:

1) to use robotic models to inform cognitive developmental theory, and

2) to use cognitive developmental theories to help create better robots.


This interdisciplinary workshop brought together roboticists, developmental psychologists, cognitive (neuro)scientists, computer scientists and philosophers, with the aim to identify future research directions and foster new interdisciplinary perspectives on developmental robotics and developmental science in three themes:

(1) Embodiment: How do infants, and could robots, learn about their body and its efficacy and use it to learn other cognitive skills?

(2) Social interaction: Which aspects of human development depend on interaction with other social agents at a particular time to develop in a typical fashion?

(3) Cognitive Architecture: Which part of the cognitive capacities and knowledge is predefined in the cognitive architecture and how can architectures as a whole learn?













#DevRobLorentz at Twitter: 115 tweets online and counting




The workshop had numerous communicative outcomes as result of the interdisciplinary discussions. A consensus was for example achieved about different notions and purposes of “models” in our fields, such as normative, descriptive, or explanatory models. Another discussion that was universally regarded useful was about innate biases, in which roboticists and psychologists mutually informed each other about theoretical and empirical perspectives on such biases from their respective fields. Another relevant discussion revolved around the nature of feedback in social interaction.


One of the immediate outcomes of the workshop was high visibility on social media that brought the topic as well as the Lorentz center to many peoples attention. In order to continue the scientific discussion the organizers are now pursuing a written dialogue format in the bi-annual newsletter of the IEEE committee on Cognitive and Developmental Systems. Further, we aim at communicating key findings and future directions in a white paper. Behind the scenes, the workshop already lead to one new cooperation of a co-organizer and a participant on a research grant proposal focusing on the above mentioned social feedback dynamics.


We received very positive feedback from the participants on both the site and our format comprising keynotes, topic-specific discussions, as well as entirely open discussions. We wrapped up the workshop by having topic-specific groups work out specific, reachable research goals for the next three years. Numerous such goals, ranging from concrete experimental question to theoretic questions and specific articles, have been identified, and on which we can hopefully report again in a few years of time.


Johan Kwisthout Nijmegen, The Netherlands 

Matthias Rolf Oxford, UK

Matthew Schlesinger Carbondale, IL, USA 

Lorijn Zaadnoordijk Nijmegen, The Netherlands