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Title: Temporal structure of neural oscillations underlying sensorimotor coordination : a theoretical approach with evolutionary robotics
Author: Santos, Bruno Andre
ISNI:       0000 0004 2747 3537
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2013
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The temporal structure of neural oscillations has become a widespread hypothetical \mechanism" to explain how neurodynamics give rise to neural functions. Despite the great number of empirical experiments in neuroscience and mathematical and computa- tional modelling investigating the temporal structure of the oscillations, there are still few systematic studies proposing dynamical explanations of how it operates within closed sensorimotor loops of agents performing minimally cognitive behaviours. In this thesis we explore this problem by developing and analysing theoretical models of evolutionary robotics controlled by oscillatory networks. The results obtained suggest that: i) the in- formational content in an oscillatory network about the sensorimotor dynamics is equally distributed throughout the entire range of phase relations; neither synchronous nor desyn- chronous oscillations carries a privileged status in terms of informational content in relation to an agent's sensorimotor activity; ii) although the phase relations of oscillations with a narrow frequency difference carry a relatively higher causal relevance than the rest of the phase relations to sensorimotor coordinations, overall there is no privileged functional causal contribution to either synchronous or desynchronous oscillations; and iii) oscilla- tory regimes underlying functional behaviours (e.g. phototaxis, categorical perception) are generated and sustained by the agent's sensorimotor loop dynamics, they depend not only on the dynamic structure of a sensory input but also on the coordinated coupling of the agent's motor-sensory dynamics. This thesis also contributes to the Coordination Dynam- ics framework (Kelso, 1995) by analysing the dynamics of the HKB (Haken-Kelso-Bunz) equation within a closed sensorimotor loop and by discussing the theoretical implications of such an analysis. Besides, it contributes to the ongoing philosophical debate about whether actions are either causally relevant or a constituent of cognitive functionalities by bringing this debate to the context of oscillatory neurodynamics and by illustrating the constitutive notion of actions to cognition.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: TJ0210.2 Mechanical devices and figures. Automata. Ingenious mechanisms. Robots (General)