A simple computer-generated agent was developed of which four behavioral aspects could be altered. Emotional behavior was defined and simulated in terms of these aspects. Participants matched a list of six emotions to the animated emotional behavior of the agent. Results suggest that it is possible to identify emotions from a set of simulated modulation patterns. The successful simulation of a computer-generated “emotional” agent supports a behavioral theory of emotion. In addition, it reveals an almost overlooked aspect of emotion that may spark further research and shows the fertility of the approach known as “artificial life” for the field of psychology.

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Author notes

This research project was funded by a postdoctoral fellowship by the German Research foundation DFG Hi 667/1-1.