Future directions meeting – schedule

Monday, March 26th, 2018

9 – 9.30 Presentation of attendants

9.30 – 10.30, Session 1: Introduction to the Workshop

What is the perceived consensus on how sensorimotor knowledge determines body knowledge? Are there areas of disagreement? What appear to be the major challenges in the theoretical definition of the approach? How does the sensorimotor approach connect to body processing/body representation? What are the unsolved questions here? Discussants: Tobias Heed (Bielefeld University) and Kevin O’Regan (Université Paris Descartes)

[ 30 min break ]

11 – 12.30, Session 2: Brain mechanisms: maps vs. statistical inference

Are there really brain maps and coordinate transformations? Are maps just a way of instantiating a form of statistical inference, namely spatial inference? Can map organization inform us about body cognition and its development? At what magnification level (neurons, regions, body parts) and with what kind of methodology (mapping single neurons, multi-electrode arrays, EEG responses…) can we expect to gain sensible information? Invited discussant: Suliann Ben Hamed, CNRS Lyon, France

[ buffet lunch, rest, leisure, individual discussion ]

14.30 – 16.00, Session 3: Generality of the sensorimotor contingencies approach as a central learning principle across the life-span

Can we understand child development by looking at adult learning? What is special about sensitive/critical periods? Do they rely on the same learning principles as learning in later life? To what extent are drastic events, such as losing a sensory modality or a limb – early or late in life –, an adequate model of the transition from womb into world? Invited discussant: Olivier Collignon, University of Louvain, Belgium

[ 30 min break ]

16.30 – 18.00, Session 4: From observing behavior to understanding body knowledge development

Can we develop testable behavioral predictions from a sensorimotor account? What would we need to observe (which measures, which effects, at which magnification level)? What are currently the major methodological (statistics, observation, experimentation) constraints, and which methodological developments would we need? Will big data play a role, or is it even essential? Invited discussant: Aldo Faisal, Imperial College London, UK

[ free time ]

20.00 – dinner

Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

9 – 10.30, Session 5: Sensorimotor contingencies in infants: “real life” research

How can we overcome the interpretational difficulties of current infant work? Can we define infant behaviors that would strongly speak for the sensorimotor account? Or infant behaviors that would refute it? Will convincing research on these issues require that we turn away from traditional infant paradigms? If so, which new paradigms might promise more success? Invited discussant: Andrew Bremner, Goldsmiths University of London, UK

[ 30 min break ]

11 – 12.30, Session 6: Aligning the “sensory” and the “motor” in “sensorimotor”

The sensorimotor account predicts that sensory and motor development are closely intertwined. Accordingly, there should be matching milestones in the two domains. Can we define and align (multi-)sensory and motor timelines? Can we define milestones, including the methods to observe them? Which new doors would this open up? What are the steps we need to take to get there? What are the major difficulties we currently face in creating such timelines, even in well-defined, specialized areas? Invited discussant: Carina de Klerk, Birkbeck College London, UK

[ buffet lunch, rest, leisure, individual discussion ]

14.30- 16.00, Session 7: gene-behavior interaction before birth

What are the biological developmental constraints of body development? What “is there” when a baby is born, both from genetically driven development and from sensorimotor relationships constrained by the womb environment? How does this constrain further development in interaction with the world? Can we overcome the “black box” of the time in the womb, i.e. better understand the relevance of behavior in the womb for creating initial body knowledge of the newborn baby? Invited discussant: Nadja Reissland, Durham University, UK

[ 30 min break ]

16.30 -18.00, Session 8: Wrapping up: pulling the strings together and defining new directions
Overview of the five sessions’ main results, discussion of conclusions and possible next steps to take in the field. Discussant: Tobias Heed, Bielefeld University, Germany

18.30 – dinner