Planet Braitenberg: Experiments in virtual psychology

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Braitenberg vehicles are simple robotic platforms, equipped with rudimentary sensor and motor components. Such vehicles have typically featured as part of thought experiments that are intended to show how complex behaviours are apt to emerge from the interaction of inner control mechanisms with aspects of bodily structure and features of the wider (extra-agential) environment. The present paper describes a framework for creating Braitenberg-like vehicles, which is built on top of a widely used and freely available game engine, namely, the Unity game engine. The framework can be used to study the behaviour of virtual vehicles within a multiplicity of virtual environments. All aspects of the vehicle's design, as well as the wider virtual environment in which the vehicle is situated, can be modified during the design phase, as well as at runtime. The result is a general-purpose simulation capability that is intended to provide the foundation for studies in so-called computational situated cognition—a field of study whose primary objective is to support the computational modelling of cognitive processes associated with the physically-embodied, environmentally-embedded, and materially-extended mind.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-95
Number of pages23
JournalCognitive Systems Research
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Artificial intelligence
  • Artificial life
  • Computational simulation
  • Embodied cognition
  • Game engine
  • Situated cognition
  • Unity
  • Virtual environment
  • Virtual robotics


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