From Bricks to Brains
352 pages, 7 x 10
150 b&w images
Release Date:01 May 2010

From Bricks to Brains

The Embodied Cognitive Science of LEGO Robots

Athabasca University Press

From Bricks to Brains introduces embodied cognitive scienceand illustrates its foundational ideas through the construction andobservation of LEGO Mindstorms robots.

Discussing the characteristics that distinguish embodied cognitivescience from classical cognitive science, From Bricks toBrains places a renewed emphasis on sensing and acting, theimportance of embodiment, the exploration of distributed notions ofcontrol, and the development of theories by synthesizing simple systemsand exploring their behaviour. Numerous examples are used to illustratea key theme: the importance of an agent’s environment. Evensimple agents, such as LEGO robots, are capable of exhibiting complexbehaviour when they can sense and affect the world around them.

Michael Dawson is a professor of psychology at theUniversity of Alberta. He is the author of numerous scientific papersas well as Understanding Cognitive Science, Mindsand Machines, and Connectionism: A Hands-on Approach.Brian Dupuis is a research assistant in psychology atthe University of Alberta. Michael Wilson is a biologymajor at the University of Alberta.

Front Matter; Table of Contents; Acknowledgements

Chapter 1. Mind Control—Internal or External?

Chapter 2. Classical Music and the Classical Mind

Chapter 3. Situated Cognition and Bricolage

Chapter 4. Braitenberg’s Vehicle 2

Chapter 5. Thoughtless Walkers

Chapter 6. Machina Speculatrix

Chapter 7. The Subsumption Architecture

Chapter 8. Embodiment, Stigmergy, and Swarm Intelligence

Chapter 9. Totems, Toys—Or Tools?

References; Index

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