Principal investigators

Yukie Nagai

Cognitive developmental robotics, Assistance for developmental disorders

Main Lab Location:

CiNet (Main bldg.)

Other Affiliations:

・Visiting Professor, Bielefeld University
・Guest Associate Professor, Graduate School of
Engineering, Osaka University



Mailing Address:

1-4 Yamadaoka, Suita City Osaka, 565-0871


yukie at


My research group investigates how human infants acquire social cognitive abilities through interactions with the environment by means of constructive approach. We design computational models (e.g., neural networks, Bayesian models, etc.) for robots to learn to communicate with others in order to reveal the underlying neural mechanisms of cognitive abilities.

As a key mechanism for development, we have proposed a computational theory based on predictive coding. It has been suggested that the human brain minimizes prediction error between incoming sensory signals and top-down prediction by updating the internal model and/or affecting the environment. In order to verify our theory and to understand to what extent the theory accounts for cognitive development, we have been designing robots that learn to recognize the self, differentiate the self from others, imitate others, share intentions and emotional states with others, help others, and so on, which appear at different ages in early infancy.

Furthermore, we develop assistant systems for developmental disorders. People with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are known to suffer from hyper- and/or hypo-sensitivity in perception, which is hypothesized to cause their difficulties in social communication. We investigate underlying sensory and neural mechanisms for atypical perception by conducting computational cognitive experiments and design wearable simulators that allow typically developing people to experience the perceptual world of ASD. This approach contributes to deeper understanding of the underlying neural mechanisms for social cognitive development.

Selected Publications:

Takato Horii, Yukie Nagai, and Minoru Asada, “Imitation of human expressions based on emotion estimation by mental simulation,” Paladyn, Journal of Behavioral Robotics, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 40-54, 2016.

Jimmy Baraglia, Yukie Nagai, and Minoru Asada, “Emergence of Altruistic Behavior Through the Minimization of Prediction Error,” IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 141-151, 2016.

Yukie Nagai, “Mechanism for Cognitive Development,” Cognitive Neuroscience Robotics: A: Synthetic Approaches to Human Understanding, M. Kasaki, H. Ishiguro, M. Asada, M. Osaka, and T. Fujikado (Eds.), Springer, pp. 51-72, 2016.

Yukie Nagai and Katharina J. Rohlfing, “Computational Analysis of Motionese Toward Scaffolding Robot Action Learning,” IEEE Transactions on Autonomous Mental Development, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 44-54, 2009.

Yukie Nagai, Koh Hosoda, Akio Morita, and Minoru Asada, “A constructive model for the development of joint attention,” Connection Science, vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 211-229, 2003.

Lab Members:

・Konstantinos Theofilis
Anja Philippsen
・Takato Horii