Grounding language in action and perception: From cognitive agents to humanoid robots

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In this review we concentrate on a grounded approach to the modeling of cognition through the methodologies of cognitive agents and developmental robotics. This work will focus on the modeling of the evolutionary and developmental acquisition of linguistic capabilities based on the principles of symbol grounding. We review cognitive agent and developmental robotics models of the grounding of language to demonstrate their consistency with the empirical and theoretical evidence on language grounding and embodiment, and to reveal the benefits of such an approach in the design of linguistic capabilities in cognitive robotic agents. In particular, three different models will be discussed, where the complexity of the agent's sensorimotor and cognitive system gradually increases: from a multi-agent simulation of language evolution, to a simulated robotic agent model for symbol grounding transfer, to a model of language comprehension in the humanoid robot iCub. The review also discusses the benefits of the use of humanoid robotic platform, and specifically of the open source iCub platform, for the study of embodied cognition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-151
Number of pages13
JournalPhysics of Life Reviews
Issue number2
Early online date19 Feb 2010
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


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