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Stacy Marsella

Expert on Modeling Human Emotions To Discuss “Hot-Blooded Virtual Humans”

Stacy Marsella, a University of Southern California (USC) professor and researcher in modeling human emotions, will speak at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Wednesday, March 30.

Marsella — the associate director of Social Simulation Research at USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies, a research associate professor in the Department of Computer Science, and co-director of USC’s Computational Emotion Group — will discuss “Hot-Blooded Virtual Humans: Making Emotional Automatons.”

The presentation will be held from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies Auditorium, and is open to the community.

“In this talk, I will discuss the computational modeling of emotions and consider the use of such models in a particular application area, virtual humans,” Marsella said. “Virtual humans are autonomous virtual characters that are designed to act like humans and interact with them in shared virtual environments, much as humans interact face-to-face with other humans. The simulation of emotions has emerged as a central challenge of virtual human architectures, as researchers have sought to endow virtual characters with emotion-related capabilities to facilitate their social interaction with human users.”

At the Computational Emotion Group and the Institute for Creative Technologies’ Social Simulation Lab, Marsella works on computational models of human behavior, including emotion, cognition, and social behavior. He also works on incorporating these models into virtual humans, autonomous humanlike characters that can interact with humans within virtual worlds. He has extensive experience in the design and construction of simulations of social interaction for a variety of research and educational applications.

Marsella has published more than 150 technical articles. Recent published work includes articles assessing the validity of a computational model of emotional coping, modeling appraisal in theory of mind reasoning, modeling self-deception, and modeling the cognitive antecedents and consequences of emotion. His work has appeared in numerous scholarly journals including the Journal of Cognitive Systems Research, the Proceedings of ACII, and the Journal of Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems. He is a recipient of the 2010 ACM/SIGART Autonomous Agents Research Award. He is a member of the International Society for Research on Emotions and is a fellow in the Society of Experimental Social Psychology.

Marsella’s appearance is part of the Vollmer Fries Lecture Series, sponsored by the Office of the Provost and the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. The series was established by Vollmer Fries, who graduated from Rensselaer in 1924 with a degree in electrical engineering.

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 5, Number 4, March 18, 2011
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