A formal model of emotion triggers: an approach for BDI agents

Synthese 185 (S1):83-129 (2012)
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Abstract

This paper formalizes part of a well-known psychological model of emotions. In particular, the logical structure underlying the conditions that trigger emotions are studied and then hierarchically organized. The insights gained therefrom are used to guide a formalization of emotion triggers, which proceeds in three stages. The first stage captures the conditions that trigger emotions in a semiformal way, i.e., without committing to an underlying formalism and semantics. The second stage captures the main psychological notions used in the emotion model in dynamic doxastic logic. The third stage introduces a BDI-based framework (belief–desire–intention) with achievement goals, which is used to firmly ground the preceding stages. The result is a formalization of emotion triggers for BDI agents with achievement goals. The idea of proceeding in these stages is to provide different levels of commitment to formalisms, so that it remains relatively easy to extend or replace the used formalisms without having to start from scratch. Finally, we show that the formalization renders properties of emotions that are in line with the psychological model on which it is based.

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