Autobiographic Knowledge for Believable Virtual Characters

  • Wan Ching Ho
  • Scott Watson
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4133)


It has been widely acknowledged in the areas of human memory and cognition that behaviour and emotion are essentially grounded by autobiographic knowledge. In this paper we propose an overall framework of human autobiographic memory for modelling believable virtual characters in narrative story-telling systems and role-playing computer games. We first lay out the background research of autobiographic memory in Psychology, Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence. Our autobiographic agent framework is then detailed with features supporting other cognitive processes which have been extensively modelled in the design of believable virtual characters (e.g. goal structure, emotion, attention, memory schema and reactive behaviour-based control at a lower level). Finally we list directions for future research at the end of the paper.


Episodic Memory Autobiographic Memory Artificial Life Goal Structure Virtual Agent 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Nelson, K.: The Psychological and social origins of autobiographical memory. Psychological Science 4, 7–14 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Dautenhahn, K.: Embodiment in animals and artefacts, In: Proc. AAAI FS Embodied Cognition and Action, AAAI Press, Technical report FS-96-02, pp. 27-32 (1996)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Nehaniv, C.L., Dautenhahn, K.: Embodiment and memories - algebras of time and history for autobiographic agents. In: 14th European Meeting on Cybernetics and Systems Research, Embodied Cognition and AI symposium, pp. 651–656 (1998)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Dautenhahn, K.: Embodiment and Interaction in Socially Intelligent Life-Like Agents. In: Nehaniv, C.L. (ed.) CMAA 1998. LNCS (LNAI), vol. 1562, pp. 102–142. Springer, Heidelberg (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Norman, D.A., Bobrow, D.G.: On the role of active memory processes in perception and cognition. In: Cofer, C.N. (ed.) The Structure of Human Memory, pp. 114–132. W. H. Freeman and Company, New York (1975)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Peters, C., O’Sullivan, C.: Synthetic vision and memory for autonomous virtual humans. Computer Graphics Forum 21(4), 743–753 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Marsella, S., Gratch, J.: Modelling coping behaviour in virtual humans: Don’t worry, be happy. In: Proceedings of Second International Joint Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems. ACM Press, New York (2003)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    VICTEC, Virtual ICT with empathic characters (Last accessed 29-03-2006) (2005),
  9. 9.
    Conway, M.A.: Autobiographical memories and autobiographical knowledge. In: Rubin, D.C. (ed.) Remembering our past: Studies in autobiographical memory, pp. 67–93. Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Conway, M.A., Pleydell-Pearce, C.W.: The construction of autobiographical memories in the self memory system. Psychological Review 107, 261–288 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Healy, H., Williams, J.M.G.: Autobiographic Memory, Handbook of Cognition and Emotion, pp. 229–242 (1999)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Conway, M.A., Pleydell-Pearce, C.W., Whitecross, S.E.: The neuroanatomy of autobiographical memory: A slow cortical potential study (SCP) of autobiographical memory retrieval. Memory and Language 45, 493–524 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Conway, M.A.: Memory and the self. Journal of Memory and Language 53, 594–628 (2005)CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kelly, M.P., Dickinson, H.: The narrative self in autobiographical accounts of illness. The Sociological Review 45(2), 254–278 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Neisser, U.: Nested structure in autobiographical memory. In: Rubin, D.C. (ed.) Autobiographical Memory, pp. 71–88. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1986)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Barclay, C.R.: Schematization of autobiographical memory. In: Rubin, D.C. (ed.) Autobiographical Memory, pp. 82–99. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1986)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Dautenhahn, K., Coles, S.: Narrative intelligence from the bottom up: A computational framework for the study of story-telling in autonomous agents. The Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation (JASSS) 4(1), 1–15 (2001) (Last accessed 16-09-2005), Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Ho, W.C., Dautenhahn, K., Nehaniv, C.L.: Comparing Different Control Architectures for Autobiographic Agents in Static Virtual Environments. In: Rist, T., Aylett, R.S., Ballin, D., Rickel, J. (eds.) IVA 2003. LNCS (LNAI), vol. 2792, pp. 182–191. Springer, Heidelberg (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Ho, W.C., Dautenhahn, K., Nehaniv, C.L., te Boekhorst, R.: Sharing memories: An experimental investigation with multiple autonomous autobiographic agents. In: IAS-8, 8th Conference on Intelligent Autonomous Systems, pp. 361–370. IOS Press, Amsterdam (2004)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Ho, W.C., Dautenhahn, K., Nehaniv, C.L.: Autobiographic agents in dynamic virtual environments - performance comparison for different memory control architectures. In: Proceedings of IEEE Congress on Evolutionary Computation - Special Session: Artificial Life, pp. 573–580 (2005)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Ho, W.C., Dautenhahn, K., Nehaniv, C.L.: A bottom-up study in autonomous agents with autonomous memory and narrative storytelling in a dynamic virtual environment, Cognitive Systems Research (submitted)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Ho, W.C., Dautenhahn, K., Nehaniv, C.L.: A study of episodic memory-based learning and narrative structure for autobiographic agents. In: Proceedings of Adaptation in Artificial and Biological Systems, AISB 2006 conference, vol. 3, pp. 26–29 (2006)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Ho, W.C.: Computational memory architectures for autobiographic and narrative virtual agents. PhD Thesis, University of Hertfordshire (unpublished, 2005)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Compton, R.J.: The interface between emotion and attention: A review of evidence from psychology and neuroscience. Behavioural and Cognitive Neuroscience Reviews 2(2), 115–129 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Sengers, P.: Narrative and schizophrenia in artificial agents. In: Mateas, M., Sengers, P. (eds.) Narrative Intelligence, pp. 259–278. John Benjamins, Amsterdam (2003)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Louchart, S., Aylett, R., Enz, S., Dias, J.: Understanding emotions in drama, a step towards interactive narrative. In: Proceedings of Adaptation in Artificial and Biological Systems. AISB 2006 conference, vol. 3, pp. 38–44 (2006)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Nehaniv, C.L.: Story-telling and emotion: Cognitive technology considerations in networking temporally and affectively grounded minds. In: Third International Conference on Cognitive Technology: Networked Minds (CT 1999), San Francisco/Silicon Valley, USA, August 11-14, 1999, pp. 313–322 (1999)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Linde, C.: Life Stories: The Creation of Coherence. Oxford University Press, Oxford (1993)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Mateas, M.: An Oz-centric review of interactive drama and believable agents. Artificial Intelligence Today, 297–328 (1999)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Mateas, M., Stern, A.: Architecture, authorial idioms and early observations of the interactive drama facade, Technical report, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University. CMU-CS-02-198 (2002)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Stern, A.: Virtual babyz: Believable agents with narrative intelligence. In: Mateas, M., Sengers, P. (eds.) Narrative Intelligence, pp. 215–227. John Benjamins Publishing, Amsterdam (2003)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Cavazza, M., Martin, O., Charles, F., Mead, S.J., Marichal, X.: Interacting with Virtual Agents in Mixed Reality Interactive Storytelling. In: Rist, T., Aylett, R.S., Ballin, D., Rickel, J. (eds.) IVA 2003. LNCS (LNAI), vol. 2792, pp. 231–235. Springer, Heidelberg (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Dautenhahn, K., Nehaniv, C.L.: Artificial life and natural stories. In: International Symposium on Artificial Life and Robotics (AROB III), Beppu, Oita, Japan, vol. 2, pp. 435–439 (1998)Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Dautenhahn, K.: The origins of narrative in search for the transactional format of narratives in humans and other social animals. In: Cognition and Technology: Co-existence, Convergence, Co-evolution (IJCT), pp. 97–123. John Benjamins Publishing Company, Amsterdam (2002)Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Dautenhahn, K.: Stories of lemurs and robots - the social origin of storytelling. In: Mateas, M., Sengers, P. (eds.) Narrative Intelligence, pp. 63–90. John Benjamins Publishing, Amsterdam (2003)Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Aylett, R.: Narrative in virtual environments: Towards emergent narrative. In: Proc. Narrative Intelligence, AAAI Fall Symposium 1999, pp. 83–86. AAAI Press, Menlo Park (1999)Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Fentress, J., Wickham, C.: Social memory – new perspectives on the past. Blackwell, Malden (1992)Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Bartneck, C.: Integrating the OCC model of emotions in embodied characters. In: Proceedings of the workshop on virtual conversational characters: applications, methods, and research challenges, Melbourne (2002)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wan Ching Ho
    • 1
  • Scott Watson
    • 1
  1. 1.Adaptive Systems Research Group, School of Computer ScienceUniversity of HertfordshireHatfield, HertfordshireUK

Personalised recommendations