Towards synthetic psychology: from phenomenology to cybernetics

Speaker: David Rudrauf
Tuesday 9.3.2021, 11:00, online

Abstract: The role of consciousness in biological cybernetics remains an essential yet open question for science. We introduce the Projective Consciousness Model (PCM) and show how its principles yield a unified model of appraisal and social-affective perspective taking and a method for active inference. We show how the PCM can account for known relationships between appraisal and distance as an inverse distance law, and how it can be generalised to implement Theory of Mind for strategic action planning. We use simulations of artificial agents applied to toy robots to demonstrate how different model parameters can generate a variety of emergent adaptive and maladaptive behaviours: from the ability to be resilient in the face of obstacles through imaginary projections, to the emergence of social approach and joint attention behaviours, and the ability to take advantage of false beliefs attributed to others. The approach opens new paths towards a science of consciousness, and applications, from clinical assessment to the design of artificial (virtual and robotic) agents. We discuss the interest and variety of computational challenges entailed by the approach.

Bio: David Rudrauf is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Geneva, Director of the Laboratory of Multimodal Modelling of Emotion & Feeling, and a member of the Swiss Center for Affective Science and University Computer Science Center


Rudrauf, David, Daniel Bennequin, and Kenneth Williford. "The moon illusion explained by the projective consciousness model." Journal of Theoretical Biology 507 (2020): 110455.

Rudrauf, D., Bennequin, D., Granic, I., Landini, G., Friston, K., & Williford, K. (2017). A mathematical model of embodied consciousness. Journal of theoretical biology, 428, 106-131.