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Combining cognition and emotion in virtual agents

Joaquín Pérez Marco (Departamento de Informática e Ingeniería de Sistemas, Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain)
Francisco José Serón Arbeloa (Departamento de Informática e Ingeniería de Sistemas, Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain)
Eva Cerezo Bagdasari (Departamento de Informática e Ingeniería de Sistemas, Universidad de Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain)


ISSN: 0368-492X

Article publication date: 5 June 2017




The paper aims to explain the limitations of existing cognitive architectures and affective models, and propose a new cognitive-affective architecture that can be integrated in real intelligent agents to make them more realistic and believable.


The paper evaluates the state of the art, and describes the design and implementation of the cognitive-affective architecture in an agent. A brief evaluation of the agent is provided.


The paper clearly states that it is possible to use cognitive architectures to help, but there is a lack of architectures that address the problem of combining cognition and emotion in agents in a unified, simplified way. A cognitive-affective architecture is useful to make believable intelligent agents in an easier way.

Research limitations/implications

The paper does not explore a lot of possible future work that can be done to extend the emotional expressions of the agent, as well as including direct emotional-sensing capabilities in real time.

Practical implications

The paper argues about the need to include cognitive-affective architectures in modern intelligent agents. The architecture allows to influence and modify the behavior of the agent in real time, to achieve a more realistic and believable interaction with the user.

Social implications

The paper remarks the importance of a cognitive-affective architecture that makes intelligent agents able to help the users in different tasks and environments.


The paper describes a new cognitive-affective architecture and its utility for modern intelligent agents. This is proven by including it in a previous agent, which boosts its behavior and emotional expression possibilities and thus improves user experience.



This work was supported by a grant from the Spanish “Dirección General de Investigación”, contract numbers TIN2011-24660 and TIN2015-67149-C3-1R.


Pérez Marco, J., Serón Arbeloa, F.J. and Cerezo Bagdasari, E. (2017), "Combining cognition and emotion in virtual agents", Kybernetes, Vol. 46 No. 06, pp. 933-946.



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