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Publication Summary and Abstract

Prescott, T. J., Gurney, K., Montes-Gonzalez, F., Humphries, M. and Redgrave, P. (2002), The robot basal ganglia: Action selection by an embedded model of the basal ganglia, Basal Ganglia VII, L. F. B. Nicholson and R. Faulls (Eds.) New York: Plenum Press.

Action selection is the task of resolving conflicts between multiple sensorimotor systems seeking access to the final common motor path. Recently,1, 2 we proposed that the basal ganglia may act to provide a biological solution to the problem of selection. To test this notion we have implemented a high level computational model of intrinsic basal ganglia circuitry and its interactions with simulated thalamocortical connections.3, 4 The computational model was then exposed to the rigors of Œreal worldč action selection by embedding it within the control architecture of a small mobile robot.5 In a mock foraging task, the robot was required to select appropriate actions under changing sensory and motivational conditions, thereby generating sequences of integrated behavior. Our results demonstrate: (i) the computational model of basal ganglia switches effectively between competing channels depending on the dynamics of relative input Œsalienceč; (ii) its performance is enhanced by inclusion of anatomically inspired thalamocortical circuitry; (iii) in the robot, the model demonstrates appropriate and clean switching between different actions and is able to generate coherent sequences of behavior.
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