Stacy Marsella, Jonathan Gratch: “A step toward irrationality: using emotion to change belief”

July 15, 2002 | Bologna, Italy

Speaker: Stacy Marsella, Jonathan Gratch
Host: 1st International Joint Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (AAMAS 2002)

Emotions have a powerful impact on behavior and beliefs. The goal of our research is to create general computational models of this interplay of emotion, cognition and behavior to inform the design of virtual humans. Here, we address an aspect of emotional behavior that has been studied extensively in the psychological literature but largely ignored by computational approaches, emotion-focused coping. Rather than motivating external action, emotion-focused coping strategies alter beliefs in response to strong emotions. For example an individual may alter beliefs about the importance of a goal that is being threatened, thereby reducing their distress. We present a preliminary model of emotion-focused coping and discuss how coping processes, in general, can be coupled to emotions and behavior. The approach is illustrated within a virtual reality training environment where the models are used to create virtual human characters in high-stress social situations.