A computational model of affects

In D. Dietrich, G. Fodor, G. Zucker & D. Bruckner (eds.), Simulating the mind: A technical neuropsychoanalytical approach. pp. 277-289 (2009)
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Emotions and feelings (i.e. affects) are a central feature of human behavior. Due to complexity and interdisciplinarity of affective phenomena, attempts to define them have often been unsatisfactory. This article provides a simple logical structure, in which affective concepts can be defined. The set of affects defined is similar to the set of emotions covered in the OCC model, but the model presented in this article is fully computationally defined, whereas the OCC model depends on undefined concepts. Following Matthis, affects are seen as unconscious, emotions as preconscious and feelings as conscious. Affects are thus a superclass of emotions and feelings with regards to consciousness. A set of affective states and related affect-specific behaviors and strategies can be defined with unconscious affects only. In addition, affects are defined as processes of change in the body state, that have specific triggers. For example, an affect of hope is defined as a specific body state that is triggered when the agent is becomes informed about a future event, that is positive with regards to the agent’s needs. Affects are differentiated from each other by types of causing events. Affects caused by unexpected positive, neutral and negative events are delight, surprise and fright, respectively. Affects caused by expected positive and negative future events are hope and fear. Affects caused by expected past events are as follows: satisfaction results from a positive expectation being fulfilled, disappointment results from a positive expectation not being fulfilled, fears-confirmed results from a negative expectation being fulfilled, and relief results from a negative expectation not being fulfilled. Pride is targeted towards a self-originated positive event, and shame towards a self-originated negative event. Remorse is targeted towards a self-originated action causing a negative event. Pity is targeted towards a liked agent experiencing a negative event, and happy-for towards a liked agent experiencing a positive event. Resentment is targeted towards a disliked agent experiencing a positive event, and gloating towards a disliked agent experiencing a negative event. An agent is liked/loved if it has produced a net utility greater than zero, and disliked/hated if the net utility is lower than zero. An agent is desired if it is expected to produce a positive net utility in the future, and disliked if the expected net utility is negative. The above model for unconscious affects is easily computationally implementable, and may be used as a starting point in building believable simulation models of human behavior. The models can be used as a starting point in the development of computational psychological, psychiatric, sociological and criminological theories, or in e.g. computer games. [please cite using the arXiv url below.]

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