Information-seeking, curiosity, and attention: computational and neural mechanisms


Trends in Cognitive Science

We just published a milestone article on information seeking, curiosity and attention in human brains and robots, in Trends in Cognitive Science. This is the result of our ongoing collaboration with Jacqueline Gottlieb and her Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at Columbia University, NY (in the context of the Inria associated team project “Neurocuriosity”).

Information Seeking, Curiosity and Attention: Computational and Neural Mechanisms
Gottlieb, J., Oudeyer, P-Y., Lopes, M., Baranes, A. (2013)
Trends in Cognitive Science, 17(11), pp. 585-596. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2013.09.001 Bibtex Pdf preprint


Intelligent animals devote much time and energy to exploring and obtaining information, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. We review recent developments on this topic that have emerged from the traditionally separate fields of machine learning, eye movements in natural behavior, and studies of curiosity in psychology and neuroscience. These studies show that exploration may be guided by a family of mecha- nisms that range from automatic biases toward novelty or surprise to systematic searches for learning progress and information gain in curiosity-driven behavior. In addition, eye movements reflect visual information searching in multiple conditions and are amenable for cellular-level investigations. This suggests that the ocu- lomotor system is an excellent model system for under- standing information-sampling mechanisms.


• Information-seeking can be driven by extrinsic or intrinsic rewards.
• Curiosity may result from an intrinsic desire to reduce uncertainty.
• Curiosity-driven learning is evolutionarily useful and can self-organize development.
• Eye movements can provide an excellent model system for information-seeking.
• Computational and neural approaches converge to further our understanding of information-seeking.


Publication du livre “Aux sources de la parole: auto-organisation et évolution”, chez Odile Jacob


Robots: L’intelligence en partage, “Le Monde” parle de la robotique humanoide open-source


Dans l’édition du mercredi 4 septembre 2013 du Monde (Cahier Sciences et Médecine), un article discute de la robotique humanoide “open-source”, et en particulier de la manière dont elle catalyse les projets de recherches collaboratifs sur la cognition, le langage ou l’apprentissage.

L’article discute notamment des projets ICub (plateforme que nous avons utilisée dans le cadre du projet ANR MACSi pour modéliser l’apprentissage d’affordances dirigé par la curiosité artificielle, voir cet article), ainsi que du robot Poppy, plateforme humanoide open-source, low-cost et basée sur l’utilisation d’imprimantes 3D, que nous allons ces jours ci rendre public (voir ici un premier article).
Read more


The Ergo-Robots

The Ergo-Robots Experiment

Artificial curiosity and language formation in robots

Exhibition “Mathematics: A Beautiful Elsewhere”
Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain

Direct links: Exhibition – Team – Publications – Videos – Photos – Press

In a big egg that has just opened, a tribe of young robotic creatures evolves and explores its environment, wreathed by a large zero that symbolizes the “origin.” Beyond their innate capabilities, they are outfitted with mechanisms that allow them to learn new skills and invent their own language. Endowed with artificial curiosity, they explore objects around them, as well as the effect their vocalizations produce on humans. Human, also curious to see what these creatures can do, react with their own gestures, creating a loop of interaction which progressively self-organizes into a new communication system established between man and ergo-robots.”Ergo-Robots: Artificial Curiosity and Language” is an installation and experiment presented in the exhibition “Mathematics: A Beautiful Elsewhere“, from 21st october 2011 to 18th march 2012, in Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris, France. Read more