Evolutionary Robotics Meets Social Psychology
Tom Froese and Ezequiel Di Paolo
Evolutionary robotics has become a popular engineering method for the synthesis of complex robotic systems. But how can we make it more relevant to the natural sciences? Here we propose to address this challenge by means of an integrative methodology which links evolutionary robotics with empirical research in terms of hypothesis generation and verification. To illustrate this proposal we report on a number of recent modelling experiments which have specifically targeted studies in social psychology. In particular, it is demonstrated how it is possible for the dynamics of a social interaction process to extend the behavioural domain of the individual agents. We argue on the basis of these results that sociality is a promising contender to bridge the ‘cognitive gap’ between minimal and human cognition, a fundamental problem which continues to be faced by bottom-up approaches such as embodied cognitive science.