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OFAI-TR-2000-05 ( 44kB g-zipped PostScript file,  70kB PDF file)

Introducing Emotions into the Computational Study of Social Norms

Alexander Staller, Paolo Petta

We argue that modelling emotions among agents in artificial societies will further the computational study of social norms. The appraisal theory of emotions is presented as theoretical underpinning of Jon Elster's view that social norms are sustained not only by material sanctions but also by emotions such as shame and contempt. Appraisal theory suggests the following twofold relationship between social norms and emotions: First, social norms play an important role in the generation of emotions; second, emotion regulation depends heavily on the influence of social norms. Based on these insights, we present an emotion-based view on the influential study by Conte and Castelfranchi (1995); without mentioning emotions, they argue that a function of social norms is aggression control. Appraisal theory offers a principled framework for the development of TABASCO, a three-layer agent architecture incorporating social norms. At the macro level, the computational study of social norms can profit by economic and sociobiological theories, which suggest that emotions play an important role in sustaining norms of cooperation and reciprocity. We show how appraisal theory can serve as a link between the macro and micro levels, and summarize the potential benefits from the development of TABASCO.

Keywords: Social Norms, Social Simulation, Emotion, Appraisal Theory (Psychology), Agent Architectures, Situated Agents

Citation: Staller A., Petta P.: Introducing Emotions into the Computational Study of Social Norms. In Proceedings of the 2000 Convention of the Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour (AISB'00), Birmingham, UK, April 17-20, 2000.