Research Topic

Body Representations, Peripersonal Space, and the Self: Humans, Animals, Robots

About this Research Topic

The human self has many facets: there is the physical body and then there are different concepts or representations supported by processes in the brain such as the ecological, social, temporal, conceptual, and experiential self. The basis is constituted by the ecological or sensorimotor self that deals with the configuration of the body in space and its action possibilities. A number of concepts like body schema or body image were proposed to describe the “body in the brain." A closely related concept is that of peripersonal space: the space directly surrounding our bodies upon which we act and that is most relevant for our safety and for interacting with others. However, while experimental observations pertaining to these concepts are abundant, computational models that explain them are scarce and address only isolated subsystems at most. Humanoid robots possess morphologies – physical characteristics as well as sensory and motor apparatus – that are in some respects akin to human bodies.

To this end, the type of information processed within the sensorimotor loops is genuine to one specific physical body (morphological computation) and to its current perceptual experience within the physical environment. By doing so, robots may expand the domain of computational modeling by anchoring information processing into one embodied and situated agent. This Research Topic invites contributions from all the disciplines dealing with the self (in particular psychology, neuroscience, computational and robotic modeling work) and interdisciplinary approaches.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

The human self has many facets: there is the physical body and then there are different concepts or representations supported by processes in the brain such as the ecological, social, temporal, conceptual, and experiential self. The basis is constituted by the ecological or sensorimotor self that deals with the configuration of the body in space and its action possibilities. A number of concepts like body schema or body image were proposed to describe the “body in the brain." A closely related concept is that of peripersonal space: the space directly surrounding our bodies upon which we act and that is most relevant for our safety and for interacting with others. However, while experimental observations pertaining to these concepts are abundant, computational models that explain them are scarce and address only isolated subsystems at most. Humanoid robots possess morphologies – physical characteristics as well as sensory and motor apparatus – that are in some respects akin to human bodies.

To this end, the type of information processed within the sensorimotor loops is genuine to one specific physical body (morphological computation) and to its current perceptual experience within the physical environment. By doing so, robots may expand the domain of computational modeling by anchoring information processing into one embodied and situated agent. This Research Topic invites contributions from all the disciplines dealing with the self (in particular psychology, neuroscience, computational and robotic modeling work) and interdisciplinary approaches.


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

28 February 2018 Abstract
30 June 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

28 February 2018 Abstract
30 June 2018 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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