Publication 416

Butz M. V., Shirinov E. & Reif K. (2011) Self-organizing sensorimotor maps plus internal motivations yield animal-like behavior. Adaptive Behavior 18: 315–337. Fulltext at
This article investigates how a motivational module can drive an animat to learn a sensorimotor cognitive map and use it to generate flexible goal-directed behavior. Inspired by the rat’s hippocampus and neighboring areas, the time growing neural gas (TGNG) algorithm is used, which iteratively builds such a map by means of temporal Hebbian learning. The algorithm is combined with a motivation module, which activates goals, priorities, and consequent activity gradients in the developing cognitive map for the self-motivated control of behavior. The resulting motivated TGNG thus combines a neural cognitive map learning process with top-down, self-motivated, anticipatory behavior control mechanisms. While the algorithms involved are kept rather simple, motivated TGNG displays several emergent behavioral patterns, self-sustainment, and reliable latent learning. We conclude that motivated TGNG constitutes a solid basis for future studies on self-motivated cognitive map learning, on the design of further enhanced systems with additional cognitive modules, and on the realization of highly adaptive, interactive, goal-directed, cognitive systems. The system essentially constructs a spatial reality. At the same time it learns to interact with this reality, driven by its internal motivations (Hullian drives).


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