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Embodied Communication in Humans and
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Ipke Wachsmuth, Manuela Lenzen, and Günther Knoblich

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199231751

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199231751.001.0001

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Imitation in embodied communication—from monkey mirror neurons to artificial humans

Imitation in embodied communication—from monkey mirror neurons to artificial humans

(p.357) 16 Imitation in embodied communication—from monkey mirror neurons to artificial humans
Embodied Communication in Humans and Machines

Stefan Kopp

Ipke Wachsmuth

James Bonaiuto

Michael Arbib

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the roles imitation plays in embodied communication from two different perspectives. The ‘mirror system’ of the macaque brain is looked at in the first approach, which assesses models of neurons, which are active both when the test monkey performs a particular instrumental action, and when the test monkey sees another monkey or a human executing a similar action. In the second approach, a ‘virtual human’ is studied in order to make computationally explicit the ways in which enabling an artificial agent for imitation can help the agent attain better capabilities of communicating with humans. Both these efforts then serve to aid the discussion of the role of imitation, its underlying functions and mechanisms in communicative behaviour as well as in building a general theory of embodiment, which could both advance our understanding of human communication and patterns of communication between humans and future robots.

Keywords:   imitation, embodied communication, virtual human, artificial agent, communicative behaviour, embodiment, robots

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