[Comp-neuro] Frontiers in Cognitive Science special issue + Workshop: Intrinsic motivations and open-ended development

Gianluca Baldassarre <gianluca.baldassarre at istc.cnr.it> gianluca.baldassarre at gmail.com
Mon Dec 10 23:50:57 CET 2012

Dear colleagues,

In collaboration with Frontiers in Cognitive Science, we are currently
organizing a special issue (there called ''Research Topic'') with the title
"Intrinsic motivations and open-ended development in animals, humans, and
robots" (

*** The special issue is organised in coordination with the ''International
Workshop on Intrinsic motivations and Open-Ended Development in Animals,
Humans, and Robots" (Rome, 6-8 June 2013; for details:
Please use the abstract (see submission instructions below), or an email,
to manifest your interest to participate in the workshop.

*** The proposed structure of the Research Topic is provided below,
together with links to the instructions to submit an abstract (deadline: 21
January 2013) and a final paper (deadline: 21 May 2013).

*** Topic Editors: Gianluca Baldassarre, Andrew Barto, Marco Mirolli, Peter
Redgrave, Richard Ryan, Tom Stafford

*** Description: The aim of this Research Topic for Frontiers in Cognitive
Science is to present state-of-the-art research, whether theoretical,
 empirical, or computational investigations, on open-ended development
driven by intrinsic motivations. The topic will address questions such as:
How do motivations drive learning? How are complex skills built up from a
foundation of simpler competencies? What are the neural and computational
bases for intrinsically motivated learning? What is the  contribution of
intrinsic motivations to the wider cognition?

Autonomous development and lifelong open-ended learning are hallmarks of
intelligence. Higher mammals, and especially humans, engage in activities
that do not appear to directly serve the goals of survival,  reproduction,
or material advantage. Rather, a large part of their activity is
intrinsically motivated - behavior driven by curiosity, play, interest in
novel stimuli and surprising events, autonomous goal-setting, and the
pleasure of acquiring new competencies. This allows the cumulative
acquisition of knowledge and skills that can later be used to accomplish
fitness-enhancing goals. Intrinsic motivations continue during adulthood,
and in humans artistic creativity, scientific discovery, and subjective
well-being owe much to them.

The study of intrinsically motivated behavior has a long history in
psychological and ethological research, which is now being reinvigorated by
perspectives from neuroscience, artificial intelligence and computer
science. For example, recent neuroscientific research is discovering how
 neuromodulators like dopamine and noradrenaline relate not only to
extrinsic rewards but also to novel and surprising events, how brain areas
such as the superior colliculus and the hippocampus are involved in the
perception and processing of events, novel stimuli, and novel associations
of stimuli, and how violations of predictions and expectations influence
learning and motivation.

Computational approaches are characterizing the space of possible
reinforcement learning algorithms and their augmentation by intrinsic
reinforcements of different kinds. Research in robotics and machine
learning is yielding systems with increasing autonomy and capacity for
self-improvement: artificial systems with motivations that are similar to
those of real organisms and support prolonged autonomous learning.
Computational research on intrinsic motivation is being complemented by,
and closely interacting with, research that aims to build hierarchical
architectures capable of acquiring, storing, and exploiting the knowledge
and skills acquired through intrinsically motivated learning.

Now is an important moment in the study of intrinsically motivated
open-ended development, requiring contributions and integration across a
large number of fields within the cognitive sciences. This Research Topic
aims to contribute to this effort by welcoming papers carried out with
ethological, psychological, neuroscientific and computational approaches,
as well as research that cuts across disciplines and approaches. Original
research advancing specific aspects of the state-of-the art and
review/theoretical papers aiming to systematize the field are both suitable
for this Topic.

*** Abstract Submission Deadline: 21 January 2013
*** Article Submission Deadline: 21 May 2013

*** Frontiers Research Topics are designed to be an organized, encyclopedic
coverage of a particular research area, and a forum for discussion and
debate. Contributions can be of different article types (Original Research,
Methods, Hypothesis & Theory, and others). Several outstanding researchers
are expected to contribute to the call and participate in the Workshop.

Our Research Topic has a dedicated homepage on the Frontiers website, where
contributing articles are accumulated and discussions can be easily held.
Once all articles are published, the topic will be  compiled into an
e-book, which can be sent to foundations that fund your research, to
journalists and press agencies, and to any number of other organizations.
As the ultimate reference source from leading scientists, Frontiers
Research Topic articles become highly cited.

Frontiers is a Swiss-based, open access publisher. As such an article
accepted for publication incurs a publishing fee, which varies depending on
the article type. The publishing fee for accepted articles is below average
compared to most other open access journals - and lower than
subscription-based journals that apply page and color figure charges.
Moreover, for Research Topic articles, the publishing fee is discounted
quite steeply thanks to the support of the Frontiers Research Foundation.
Details on Frontiers’ fees can be found at:

When published, your article will be freely available to visitors to the
Frontiers site, and will be indexed in PubMed and other academic archives.
As an author in Frontiers, you will retain the copyright to your own paper
and all figures.

*** For more information about this Topic and Frontiers in Cognitive
Science, please visit:

*** For information on the abstract submission procedure, click on the
''Info for Authors'' tab within this web-page:

*** To submit an abstract and, if this is accepted, the related article use
the following link:
(Here choose: ''Submit an abstract/article'' and ''Start submission''; then
Domain:Science, Field:Psychology, Journal-section:Cognitive-Science ...then
follow instructions...).

Best regards,
Gianluca Baldassarre, Andrew Barto, Marco Mirolli, Peter Redgrave, Richard
Ryan, Tom Stafford
Guest Associate Editors, Frontiers in Cognitive Science (www.frontiersin.org

Gianluca Baldassarre, Ph.D.,
Laboratory of Computational Embodied Neuroscience,
Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della Cognizione,
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (LOCEN-ISTC-CNR),
Via San Martino della Battaglia 44, I-00185 Roma, Italy
E-mail: gianluca.baldassarre at istc.cnr.it
Web: http://www.istc.cnr.it/people/gianluca-baldassarre
Learn from the past, live in(tensely) the present, dream for the future
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://www.neuroinf.org/pipermail/comp-neuro/attachments/20121210/78362a5a/attachment.html

More information about the Comp-neuro mailing list