The Active Self

The Priority Program brings together cognitive and behavioral scientists from various disciplines, including psychology and robotics, to study the sensorimotor grounding of the human minimal self. The relatively recent increasing interest in the self is fueled by important methodological improvements, such as the availability of virtual-reality techniques and affordable robots with humanoid characteristics, and the development of noninvasive methods to study cognition in infants, but also by converging lines of theoretical thinking related to ideomotor processes on the one hand and embodied cognition on the other.

The program will seek to unravel the degree to which our self-representation is plastic and sensitive to immediate experience, to which degree it is constrained by past experience, how it integrates experiences of agency and action-ownership, how it affects other cognitive processes, and to what degree self-representation can be established in artificial agents. The ultimate goal of the program is to describe, characterize, and understand the mechanisms underlying the process of self-construction, and the role of sensorimotor experience therein.


Public version of the proposal ‘The Active Self’: Proposal SPP The Active Self 2017 (public PDF)


Programme Committee:


Projects in the Second Phase of the SPP:

  1. The Cognitive Control of Social Resonance
  2. DeepSelf: Emergence of Event-Predictive Agency in Robots
  3. An embodied AI approach to Measures of the Self
  4. Bayesian inference as the basis of sense of agency
  5. Information Integration in Predictive Processes: A Mechanistic Grounding in the Self
  6. Plasticity of body representation of self and other in collaborative tasks (SOLAR)
  7. Reconstructing the naïve theory of the self
  8. Modeling a Robot’s Peripersonal Space and Body Schema for Adaptive Learning and Imitation (MoReSpace)
  9. Affective Grounding of Sense of Agency and Action Regulation (AffAct)
  10. The impact of child-caregiver interactions and attachment on the developing minimal self
  11. Keep the breath in mind: Respiratory interoception in the developing brain
  12. Functional Aspects of the Minimal Self – the Case of Schizophrenia
  13. Dynamic and adaptive body schema through the learning of sensory consequences of actions




Projects that are part of this Priority Programme:

  1. The Sensorimotor Architecture of the Self: Theory of Information Integration in Embodied Systems
  2. Phantom body: Neuropsychological mechanisms underlying the perceived unity between the body and the self
  3. Development of the agentive self: Critical components in the emerging ability of action prediction and goal anticipation
  4. Ideomotor Transfer for Active Self-emergence (IDEAS)
  5. The Interoceptive Active Self: Investigating the relation between interoceptive awareness, subjective agency and sensorimotor skills
  6. Plasticity of the minimal self in healthy aging – how virtual and real-life changes in sensorimotor experiences shape perception of body ownership, and agency
  7. Dynamic and adaptive body schema by learning to predict the sensory consequences of actions
  8. Prerequisites for the development of an artificial self
  9. EMOTIC – Enfacement manipulation in transmitted inter-facial communication
  10. Self as a feature bundle: Unraveling the mechanisms underlying self-representation
  11. Self-Other Discrimination – a Prerequisite of Man-Robot Cooperation?
  12. Functional aspects of the minimal self – the case of schizophrenia
  13. Mind the Body: An Investigation Into the Role of Embodied Interactions in the Construction of Minimal Self in Infancy
  14. Computational cognitive modeling of the predictive active self in situated action (COMPAS)
  15. The Interplay of Resident and Remote Components of the Active Self
  16. Life-span development of high-order body representations for the control of body balance: role of prediction during light haptic interactions with another individual
  17. Active voice: The influence of dynamic extralinguistic and acoustic spatial cues on voice self-ownership
  18. Parent-infant interaction as a cradle of the development of the active self
  19. Climbing to yourself: A developmental embodied cognition perspective on the relation between the minimal self and sensorimotor and cognitive skills
  20. An embodied process account of how intentional states give rise to the active self


Associated Projects:

  1. Adopting the Spatial Perspective of an Avatar or Robot
  2. Predictive Robots
  3. SELFCEPTION: Robotic self/other distinction for interaction under uncertainty


Download Map SPP Active Self