UCLIC Research Seminar Series

UCLIC Research Seminar 17 May: Lola Cañamero, University of Hertfordshire – An Embodied Cognition and Affect Approach to Human-Robot Interaction
Lola Cañamero, University of Hertfordshire


UCLIC Research Seminar 17 May: Lola Cañamero, University of Hertfordshire – An Embodied Cognition and Affect Approach to Human-Robot Interaction


Emotions are a key aspect of human behavior, communication and cognition. Affective computing and human-oriented approaches to technology design take into account different aspects of emotions and their expression in order to create technology that humans feel comfortable with. However, the potential uses of emotions in robotics go beyond their social and communicative functions. In this talk, I will discuss, and illustrate with examples of research and systems developed in my group, how emotion modeling in autonomous and social robotics can serve two main purposes:

1) Understanding emotions in biological systems (humans and other animals) and their functions. From this perspective, we investigate questions such as:

  • What are the key features of human and animal emotions that can be shared by autonomous robots in similar environments?
    • How do emotions affect behavior and cognition?
    • How did emotions evolve?
    • How do they develop through life?

2) Building better robots. From this perspective, we try to answer questions such as:

  • How can emotions help robots to make "good" decisions?
  • How can emotions make robots interact with people better?

I will also discuss how, in my view, answering these questions requires giving robots internal models of emotions in addition to skills to express emotions and recognize emotions, and how these models need to be embodied.


Dr Lola Cañamero is Reader in Adaptive Systems and Head of the Embodied Emotion, Cognition and (Inter-)Action Lab in the School of Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK. She holds undergraduate (Licenciatura) and postgraduate degrees in Philosophy from the Complutense University of Madrid and a PhD in Computer Science (Artificial Intelligence) from the University of Paris-XI. She turned to Embodied AI and robotics as a postdoctoral fellow in the groups of Rodney Brooks at MIT, USA, and of Luc Steels at the Free University of Brussels, Belgium. Since 1995, her research has investigated the interactions between motivation, emotion, and embodied cognition and action from the perspectives of adaptation, development, and evolution, using autonomous and social robots and artificial life simulations.She is author or co-author over 150 publications and has led or taken active part in numerous projects in these areas, including the EU-funded projects HUMAINE (on emotion-oriented systems), FEELIX GROWING (on emotional development) and ALIZ-E (on affective social robot com- panions for children with diabetes). Website: http://www.emotion-modeling.info.


Please contact Nadia Berthouze if you would like to arrange a meeting with Lola Cañamero.