Development of goal-directed action selection guided by intrinsic motivations: An experiment with children

Action selection is extremely important, particularly when the accomplishment of competitive tasks may require access to limited motor resources. The spontaneous exploration of the world plays a fundamental role in the development of this capacity, providing subjects with an increasingly diverse set of opportunities to acquire, practice and refine the understanding of action-outcome connection. The computational modeling literature proposed a number of specific mechanisms for autonomous agents to discover and target interesting outcomes: intrinsic motivations hold a central importance among those mechanisms. Unfortunately, the study of the acquisition of action-outcome relation was mostly carried out with experiments involving extrinsic tasks, either based on rewards or on predefined task goals. This work presents a new experimental paradigm to study the effect of intrinsic motivation on action-outcome relation learning and action selection during free exploration of the world. Three- and four-year-old children were observed during the free exploration of a new toy: half of them were allowed to develop the knowledge concerning its functioning; the other half were not allowed to learn anything. The knowledge acquired during the free exploration of the toy was subsequently assessed and compared. © 2014 Springer-Verlag.

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Taffoni, Fabrizio
Tamilia, Eleonora
Focaroli, Valentina
Formica, Domenico
Ricci, Luca
Di Pino, Giovanni
Baldassarre, Gianluca
Mirolli, Marco
Guglielmelli, Eugenio
Keller, Flavio A.
Springer, Berlin , Germania
Experimental brain research 232 (2014): 2167–2177. doi:10.1007/s00221-014-3907-z
info:cnr-pdr/source/autori:Taffoni, Fabrizio; Tamilia, Eleonora; Focaroli, Valentina; Formica, Domenico; Ricci, Luca; Di Pino, Giovanni; Baldassarre, Gianluca; Mirolli, Marco; Guglielmelli, Eugenio; Keller, Flavio A./titolo:Development of goal-directed ac
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Ritratto di Marco Mirolli
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