Keywords: Virtual Reality, Grounded Cognition, Embodied Cognition, Artificial Intelligence, Body
Through the use of body schema manipulation techniques and by exploiting realistic but controlled simulations, virtual reality has emerged over the past decade as a valuable tool for the empirical investigation of grounded theories of cognition. Here we discuss how the ability to map one’s actions onto an increasingly realistic avatar in real time in an artificial environment provides an ideal testbed for «embodied» theories. Not only will it be possible to conduct social interaction experiments with agents that are nearly indistinguishable from a human, but also, thanks to a graphics and physics engine, to endow artificial intelligence with a changing body and senses that are refined over time in a graphic engine. This could be useful on the one hand to test hypotheses about brain architectures, but also through evolutionary algorithms to investigate the evolution of a neural system Grou with a given body in a given environment from generation to generation.