Schema-based learning of adaptable and flexible prey- catching in anurans II. Learning after lesioning

Fernando Corbacho, Kiisa C. Nishikawa, Ananda Weerasuriya, Jim Shih Liaw, Michael A. Arbib

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The previous companion paper describes the initial (seed) schema architecture that gives rise to the observed prey-catching behavior. In this second paper in the series we describe the fundamental adaptive processes required during learning after lesioning. Following bilateral transections of the hypoglossal nerve, anurans lunge toward mealworms with no accompanying tongue or jaw movement. Nevertheless anurans with permanent hypoglossal transections eventually learn to catch their prey by first learning to open their mouth again and then lunging their body further and increasing their head angle. In this paper we present a new learning framework, called schema-based learning (SBL). SBL emphasizes the importance of the current existent structure (schemas), that defines a functioning system, for the incremental and autonomous construction of ever more complex structure to achieve ever more complex levels of functioning. We may rephrase this statement into the language of Schema Theory (Arbib 1992, for a comprehensive review) as the learning of new schemas based on the stock of current schemas. SBL emphasizes a fundamental principle of organization called coherence maximization, that deals with the maximization of congruence between the results of an interaction (external or internal) and the expectations generated for that interaction. A central hypothesis consists of the existence of a hierarchy of predictive internal models (predictive schemas) all over the control center-brain-of the agent. Hence, we will include predictive models in the perceptual, sensorimotor, and motor components of the autonomous agent architecture. We will then show that predictive models are fundamental for structural learning. In particular we will show how a system can learn a new structural component (augment the overall network topology) after being lesioned in order to recover (or even improve) its original functionality. Learning after lesioning is a special case of structural learning but clearly shows that solutions cannot be known/hardwired a priori since it cannot be known, in advance, which substructure is going to break down.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)410-425
Number of pages16
JournalBiological Cybernetics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • General Computer Science


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