The effect of proprioceptive feedback on the distribution of sensory information in a model of an undulatory organism

Ben JONES, Yaochu JIN, Bernhard SENDHOFF, Xin YAO

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1 Citation (Scopus)


In an animal, a crucial factor concerning the arrival of information at the sensors and subsequent transmission to the effectors, is how it is distributed. At the same time, higher animals also employ proprioceptive feedback so that their respective neural circuits have information regarding the state of the animal body. In order to disseminate what this practically means for the distribution of sensory information, we have modeled a segmented swimming organism (animat) coevolving its nervous system and body plan morphology. In a simulated aquatic environment, we find that animats artificially endowed with proprioceptive feedback are able to evolve completely decoupled central pattern generators (CPGs) meaning that they emerge without any connections made to neural circuits in adjacent body segments. Without such feedback however, we also find that the distribution of sensory information from the head of the animat becomes far more important, with adjacent CPG circuits becoming interconnected. Crucially, this demonstrates that where proprioceptive mechanisms are lacking, more effective delivery of sensory input is essential. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Artificial Life : 10th European Conference, ECAL 2009, Budapest, Hungary, September 13-16, 2009, Revised Selected Papers, Part I
EditorsGeorge KAMPIS, István KARSAI, Eörs SZATHMÁRY
PublisherSpringer Berlin Heidelberg
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9783642212833
ISBN (Print)9783642212826
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event10th European Conference on Artificial Life - Budapest, Hungary
Duration: 13 Sept 200916 Sept 2009

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
PublisherSpringer Berlin, Heidelberg
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference10th European Conference on Artificial Life


  • animat
  • behaviour
  • morphology
  • neural control
  • proprioception


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