Cognitive Computation

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 104–117 | Cite as

On the Role of Emotion in Embodied Cognitive Architectures: From Organisms to Robots

  • Tom ZiemkeEmail author
  • Robert Lowe


The computational modeling of emotion has been an area of growing interest in cognitive robotics research in recent years, but also a source of contention regarding how to conceive of emotion and how to model it. In this paper, emotion is characterized as (a) closely connected to embodied cognition, (b) grounded in homeostatic bodily regulation, and (c) a powerful organizational principle—affective modulation of behavioral and cognitive mechanisms—that is ‘useful’ in both biological brains and robotic cognitive architectures. We elaborate how emotion theories and models centered on core neurological structures in the mammalian brain, and inspired by embodied, dynamical, and enactive approaches in cognitive science, may impact on computational and robotic modeling. In light of the theoretical discussion, work in progress on the development of an embodied cognitive-affective architecture for robots is presented, incorporating aspects of the theories discussed.


Affect Cognitive architectures Cognitive robotics Computational modeling Embodied cognition Emotion Grounding Homeostasis Motivation Organisms 



This work has been supported by a European Commission grant to the FP6 project “Integrating Cognition, Emotion and Autonomy” (ICEA, FP6-IST-027819, as part of the European Cognitive Systems initiative. Much of this paper has resulted from discussions with other members of the project consortium. The authors would also like to thank the reviewers, Kevin Gurney, Amir Hussain, and India Morrison for useful comments on a draft version of this paper.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Informatics Research Centre, School of Humanities & InformaticsUniversity of SkövdeSkövdeSweden

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