Current Research
The Intuitive Physics of Rats Playing Fetch

Rob Johnson is investigating physics-based reasoning in rodents. This form of algorithmic information processing allows an organism to observe the physical objects in a scene and generate a mental simulation to predict how it will likely play out over time. To understand how this cognitive process works, Johnson and his team are combining high-speed multi-camera systems and machine learning algorithms to measure and model the behavioral dynamics of rats playing fetch. By recording the rodents’ neural dynamics during gameplay, they aim to learn about how rodent brains implement intuitive physics computations, and to identify how object properties, game states, and probable future events are represented in neural states.

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