CPS Seminar Speaker Jochen Triesch SEA 4.242

Contact Name: 
Jenna Whitney
Date: 
Oct 29, 2007 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Speaker/Affiliation: Jochen Triesch Ph.D. Profes

sor Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies J.W. Goethe University
When/Location: 10/29/07 12:00 PM SEA 4.242

Host: Mary Hayhoe

Title of Talk: ''Emergence of Mirror Neurons in a Model of Gaze Followi

ng''

Abstract: Gaze following is the ability to redirect one%92s gaz

e to the location where another agent is looking. We present a computationa

l model of how human infants or other agents may acquire gaze following by

learning to predict the locations of interesting sights from the looking be

havior of other agents through reinforcement learning. The model accounts f

or many findings about the development of gaze following in human infants.

During learning the model develops pre-motor representations that exhibit

many properties characteristic of mirror neurons but they are specific to

looking behaviors. The existence of such a new class of mirror neurons is t

he main prediction of our model. The model also offers a parsimonious accou

nt of how these and possibly other mirror neurons may acquire their special
response properties. In this account visual representations of other agen

ts%92 actions become associated with premotor neurons that represent the in

tention to perform corresponding actions. The model also demonstrates how t

his development may be obstructed in autism spectrum disorder giving rise

to specific physiological and anatomical differences in the mirror system.