Cognitive Neurorobotics Research Unit (Jun Tani)

Research Goals

The cognitive neurorobotics research unit focuses on understanding brain-based mechanisms for cognition and action by conducting synthetic brain modeling studies with using robotics experiment platforms. The essential questions include how compositionality and systematicity in cognition and actions can be developed via consolidative learning of behavioral experiences, how novel actions and thoughts can be generated with “free will”, how social cognition with reading others’ minds can be developed to support spontaneous generation of cooperative behaviors with others. By investigating these questions seriously, the long-term research goal of the lab would be to “educate” robots with artificial brains to attain general intelligence in developmental manners by scaffolding with internally available cognitive resources and externally available social resources for a long period. 

See details at

Research Positions

We are looking for postdoctoral scholars or stuff scientists who are interested in studying toward the above research goals collaboratively in our unit. We specifically invite applicants to the following research topics:

  1. Studies of various types of robot learning using recurrent neural network (RNN) models based on the idea of predictive coding. This could include more theoretical studies on deterministic and probabilistic learning in predictive coding type RNN models.
  2. Studies on developmental robotics with focusing on the problem of generalization through stages of development with using the schemes developed in (1). We hope that developmental processes during life-time learning spanning for months to years can be observed.
  3. Studies on social cognitive robotics with focusing on the problem of “theory of mind” under experiment setup in human-robot interactions or robot to robot interaction. In addition, subjective experience including consciousness and free will in human subjects will be examined especially in the “human in robot-loop” setting. This study may also incorporate with the predictive coding scheme.
  4. Study on development of general intelligence by modeling the higher-order cognitive brain mechanism of executive control and working memory usage.

Applicants should send a CV and research statement to tani1216jp “at” with the header
Research Position at Cognitive Neurorobotics Research Unit, OIST.

OIST students who are interested in participating our lab in terms of lab rotation or graduate study should also contact to the above email address.

Prospective PhD students should apply with the OIST Graduate School.