Emotions: From brain to robot

Michael A. Arbib, Jean Marc Fellous

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


Some robots have been given emotional expressions in an attempt to improve human-computer interaction. In this article we analyze what it would mean for a robot to have emotion, distinguishing emotional expression for communication from emotion as a mechanism for the organization of behavior. Research on the neurobiology of emotion yields a deepening understanding of interacting brain structures and neural mechanisms rooted in neuromodulation that underlie emotions in humans and other animals. However, the chemical basis of animal function differs greatly from the mechanics and computations of current machines. We therefore abstract from biology a functional characterization of emotion that does not depend on physical substrate or evolutionary history, and is broad enough to encompass the possible emotions of robots.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)554-561
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Cognitive Sciences
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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