How the body is represented is a central problem in the fields of cognitive science, developmental science, neuroscience and robotics. In the biological realm, investigators have proposed that body knowledge contributes to a sense of self and underlies basic forms of adaptive behavior that are self-directed and critical for survival (e.g., removal of foreign or dangerous stimuli from the body, grooming, tool use, self-feeding). On the technology side, robots as physical artifacts need to be endowed with models of their bodies and the quality of this model directly impacts the performance of the machine.
The primary goals of the workshop are to bring together an international group of junior and senior scientists from these different research communities to (1) address how the body is represented, (2) describe mechanisms by which organisms or artificial agents construct a representation of the body, and (3) develop an integrative research agenda and ongoing network that will investigate body knowledge from a new interdisciplinary perspective. The interaction between biological sciences and technology will have two farther reaching goals: first, humanoid robots as viable tools for embodied models of body representations will be promoted; second, the potential of using biologically inspired adaptive body representations in machines will be assessed.