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. 

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Research Positions

We are looking for postdoctoral scholars and Ph.D students 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 predictive coding framework. This could include more theoretical investigation on deterministic as well as stochastic dynamic modeling for predictive coding.
  2. Studies on developmental robotics with focusing on the problem of generalization through stages of development. We hope that developmental processes during life-time learning spanning for months to years can be observed. This study may use reinforcement learning as well as predictive coding framework. We are also interested in conducting synthetic neurorobotics modeling studies on developmental disorders including schizophrenia and ASD.
  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. This study may also incorporate with research outputs from (1) and (2).
  4. Studies on development of general intelligence by modeling the higher-order cognitive brain mechanism of executive control and working memory usage.
  5. Studies on subjective experience including consciousness and free will of robots and human by conducting "human in robot-loop" experiments.

Applicants for postdoctoral scholars 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.