Silicon Coppélia and the Formalization of the Affective Process

Johan Hoorn*, Thomas Baier, Jeroen A. N. Van Maanen, Jeroen Wester

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


After 20 years of testing a framework for affective user responses to artificial agents and robots, we compiled a full formalization of our findings so to make the agent respond affectively to its user. Silicon Coppelia as we dubbed our system works from the features of the observed other, appraises these in various domains (e.g., ethics and affordances), then compares them to goals and concerns of the agent, to finally reach a response that includes intentions to work with the user as well as a level of being engaged with the user. This ultimately results into an action that adds to or changes the situation both agencies are in. Unlike many other systems, Silicon Coppelia can deal with ambiguous emotions of its user and has ambiguous ‘feelings’ of itself, which makes its decisions quite human-like. In the current paper, we advance a fuzzy-sets approach and show the inner workings of our system through an elaborate example. We also present a number of simulation experiments, one of which showed decision behaviors based on biases when agent goals had low priorities. Silicon Coppelia is open to scrutiny and experimentation by way of an open-source implementation in Ptolemy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-278
Number of pages24
JournalIEEE Transactions on Affective Computing
Issue number1
Early online date8 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2023


  • Affect
  • Modeling
  • Goal-driven Robots
  • Fuzzy Algorithms


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