Mirror Neurons, Embodied Cognitive Agents and Imitation Learning

keywords: Complete agents, mirror neurons, embodied cognition, imitation learning, sensorimotor control
Mirror neurons are a relatively recent discovery; it has been conjectured that these neurons play an important role in imitation learning and other cognitive phenomena. We will study a possible place and role of mirror neurons in the neural architecture of embodied cognitive agents. We will formulate and investigate the hypothesis that mirror neurons serve as a mechanism which coordinates the multimodal (i.e., motor, perceptional and proprioceptive) information and completes it so that the agent remains always situated even when parts of the multimodal information are missing. We show that such a hypothesis forms a basis on which plausible explanation of the development of a host of mental abilities could be founded. These abilities range from imitation learning, communication via a sign language up to the dawn of thinking. Our results build a bridge between the theory of embodied cognition and mirror neurons; they also justify the hopes related to the discovery of mirror neurons.
reference: Vol. 22, 2003, No. 6, pp. 545–559