The University of Sussex

Learning in artificial life: conditioning, concept formation and sensorimotor loops

Terry Stewart

The first half of this thesis is a review of neural models of associative learning, with a particular focus on two things: the ability to form 'concepts' (extracting patterns from the sensory data) and the capability of dealing with embodied agents.... The second half details a closer examination of distributed adaptive control, in light of the previous discussion. A series of experiments are performed on a re-implementation of this learning algorithm which compare its associative learning characteristics to those of the most basic of natural associative learning methods: classical conditioning.... The result is that while distributed adaptive control may show the surface capabilities of classical conditioning (the ability to have a conditioned stimulus acta as a predictor for an unconditioned stimulus), it does not have the deeper abilities of classical conditioning....

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