Artificial intelligence detects awareness of functional relation with the environment in 3 month old babies

Massoud Khodadadzadeh, Aliza T. Sloan, Nancy Aaron Jones, Damien Coyle, J. A. Scott Kelso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A recent experiment probed how purposeful action emerges in early life by manipulating infants’ functional connection to an object in the environment (i.e., tethering an infant’s foot to a colorful mobile). Vicon motion capture data from multiple infant joints were used here to create Histograms of Joint Displacements (HJDs) to generate pose-based descriptors for 3D infant spatial trajectories. Using HJDs as inputs, machine and deep learning systems were tasked with classifying the experimental state from which snippets of movement data were sampled. The architectures tested included k-Nearest Neighbour (kNN), Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA), Fully connected network (FCNet), 1D-Convolutional Neural Network (1D-Conv), 1D-Capsule Network (1D-CapsNet), 2D-Conv and 2D-CapsNet. Sliding window scenarios were used for temporal analysis to search for topological changes in infant movement related to functional context. kNN and LDA achieved higher classification accuracy with single joint features, while deep learning approaches, particularly 2D-CapsNet, achieved higher accuracy on full-body features. For each AI architecture tested, measures of foot activity displayed the most distinct and coherent pattern alterations across different experimental stages (reflected in the highest classification accuracy rate), indicating that interaction with the world impacts the infant behaviour most at the site of organism~world connection.
Original languageEnglish
Article number15580
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages20
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date6 Jul 2024
Publication statusPublished online - 6 Jul 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.

Data Access Statement

The datasets used and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


  • Computer science
  • Dynamical systems
  • Human behaviour
  • Intelligence


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