FEEL-COG: The Role of Affect in the Development of Cognition

ICDL 2021 workshop

People are social beings, naturally predisposed to interact in an adaptive and empathetic manner with others. From birth, human beings develop their cognitive, affective, and social skills from the exposure to and interaction with their social group - family, friends, peers. As we grow and learn, we become capable to register the cognitive and affective state of our peers, adjust our actions and speech to their perceived needs, and over a prolonged period of interaction also learn which behaviors are the most appropriate and well-suited for each one of them individually.

This collection of abilities - of perception, interaction, affect, reasoning, memory, motivation for action, learning, interaction, etc. - is what defines us as cognitive agents. Modelling these abilities into a cognitive architecture - either as a way of understanding human cognition or as an attempt to endow an artificial agent with cognitive skills - has been approached by researchers from many fields (computer science, cognitive psychology, robotics, philosophy, neuroscience), and has resulted in an impressive number of architectures. However, while the vast majority of them share some common model of cognition and recognise as crucial the elements of perception, attention, action selection, learning, memory and reasoning, very few of them acknowledge the role social and affective interaction plays in the development of these skills.

The goal of our workshop is to tackle precisely this issue. We wish to rekindle the conversation on the key importance of affect in the development of different cognitive abilities, both in natural cognitive agents (i.e. humans) and artificial ones (i.e. cognitive and social robots). We would like to address this issue from an interdisciplinary angle and we welcome researchers from a broad range of disciplines such as robotics, neurosciences, social sciences, psychology and computer science.



Participation to the workshop is free of charge, but with mandatory registration.

Please register on this link by August 18th EOD.

Registration is now closed.

The Zoom link will be distributed to all registered participants a few hours before the start of the workshop.

Workshop program

FEEL-COG will be half-day workshop, with a program combining talks from invited speakers, presentations of participants' contributions and a panel discussion between the speakers.  The workshop will be fully virtual, and it will take place on Thursday, the 19th of August, starting at 13.00 CEST for a total duration of 3.5 hours.

Below follows the finalized program of the workshop:

Keynote Speakers

Joost Broekens

Interactive Robotics B.V. & University of Leiden

Talk Title: Affect, Emotion and Reinforcement Learning

Bio: Joost Broekens is associate professor and head of the Affective Computing and Human-Robot Interaction group at the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS), Leiden University. He is president Elect of the Association for the Advancement of Affective Computing (AAAC). He is associate editor of the IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing. He is co-founder of Interactive Robotics, enabling students from any age to learn with and from social robots. His research interests focus on affective computing, in particular the computational modelling of emotions, and intelligent interaction between humans and socially interactive agents. 

Iolanda Leite

KTH Royal Institute of Technology

Talk Title: The Key Role of Multimodal Behavior in Human-Robot Interaction

Bio: Iolanda Leite is an Associate Professor at the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. She holds a PhD in Information Systems and Computer Engineering from IST, University of Lisbon. Prior to joining KTH, she had postdoctoral appointments at Yale University and at Disney Research. Her research goal is to develop social robots that can perceive, learn from and respond appropriately to people in real-world situations, allowing for truly efficient and engaging long-term interactions with people. Leite is a member of the HRI Steering Committee and the Co-editor in Chief of AI Matters, the newsletter of the ACM Special Interest Group in Artificial Intelligence (SIGAI).

Call for contributions


With the goal of sparking new conversations on the topic of affect and cognition, we invite participants to submit their contributions as either an abstract (1 page) or extended abstract (2 pages). We particularly encourage authors to submit works in progress and reports with preliminary results, so as to have the chance to identify any questions and discussion points they may wish to put to the panelists and other participants.

Submissions should be in PDF format, and must contain the abstract title, authors, and affiliations. Send your PDFs indicating [ICDL 2021] in the subject to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Depending on the number of submissions and the preference expressed by the authors, the accepted abstracts may be presented orally, or as a short video (in English) that will be shared on the workshop's social media. In case of video presentations, the videos will be streamed for the whole duration of the workshop and the authors will have a live Q&A with the audience for 1 or 2 sessions of 20 minutes.

Important dates:

- Abstract submission deadline: July 15th, 2021 (final extension)
- Notification of acceptance: July 22nd, 2021
- Video submission (only if authors express a preference for submitting a video instead of presenting orally): August 5th, 2021

The call for contributions is closed.

- Workshop date: August 19th, 2021


Ana Tanevska

Dr. Ana Tanevska is a postdoctoral researcher at the Italian Institute of Technology in Genoa (Italy), within the ERC-funded project wHiSPER, investigating shared perception between humans and robots. Ana obtained their PhD degree in Bioengineering and Robotics from the University of Genoa in March 2020, with the thesis "Towards a Cognitive Architecture for Socially Adaptive Human-Robot Interaction".
Prior to moving to Italy, Ana obtained a B.Sc. degree in Computer Science and Engineering (2015) and a M.Sc. degree in Intelligent Systems Engineering and Robotics (2016), both from FCSE (FINKI) in Skopje, Macedonia.
Ana's main research interests include cognitive robotics, adaptation in human-robot interaction (HRI), and socially-assistive robotics. Their work on socially-adaptive cognitive architectures has been most recently published in Frontiers in Robotics and AI.

Lola Cañamero

Prof. Lola Cañamero is Chair of Robotics and Neuroscience at CY Cergy Paris University, where she is a member of the Neurocybernetics Group in the ETIS Laboratory. She was previously Reader in Adaptive Systems and Head of the Embodied Emotion, Cognition and (Inter-)Action Lab in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK, which she joined as faculty in 2001.
She holds an undergraduate degree (Licenciatura) in Philosophy from the Complutense University of Madrid and a PhD in Computer Science (Artificial Intelligence) from the University of Paris-XI, France. She turned to Embodied AI and robotics as a postdoctoral fellow in the groups of Rodney Brooks at MIT (USA) and of Luc Steels at the VUB (Belgium). Since 1995, her research has investigated the interactions between motivation, emotion and embodied cognition and action from the perspectives of adaptation, development and evolution, using autonomous and social robots and artificial life simulations. She has played a pioneering role in nurturing the emotion modeling community. She is author or co-author of over 150 peer-reviewed publications in the above topics.

ERC Starting Grant
Principal Investigator: Alessandra Sciutti
Period: 3/2019- 2/2024. G.A: 804388

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