Angelo Cangelosi

From language evolution to language development models: The importance of starting with baby robots

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Domenico Parisi was an innovator and inspirer of many generations of researchers, in numerous disciplines, starting from linguistics and psychology, to cognitive sciences, then to artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, also influencing disciplines such as economics and education. In this article we will focus on his innovative contribution in the field of cognitive models for cognitive sciences, AI and robotics, and in particular on the cognitive models of simulated situated and embodied agents (econets) and of robotic agents that use evolutionary algorithms (phylogenetic) and developmental models (ontogenetic). The specific field of study that will be used as a case study is that of language, respectively for the models that study the aspects of the origins and evolution of language with genetic algorithms, and for the models of language learning in developmental robotics studies. The article discusses various examples that show the advantages of a simulative and / or robotic approach to studying language and validating the theories of the origins of language and the development of cognitive and linguistic skills. In particular, the theoretical and epistemological aspects of developmental models in baby robots are explicitly discussed, inspired by developmental psychology studies. This also highlights the importance of understanding the developmental mechanisms of the mind in children, and their influence in the design of artificial intelligence and robotics systems and applications that simulate a child’s mind


  • evolutionary robotics
  • developmental robotics
  • language acquisition
  • baby robots


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