Stacy Marsella, University of Southern California

Stacy Marsella, University of Southern California

Stacy Marsella ( is the Associate Director of Social Simulation Research at the University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and co-director of USC's Computational Emotion Group. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Rutgers University in 1993. Dr. Marsella works on computational models of human behavior, including emotion, cognition and social behavior. He also works on incorporating these models into virtual humans, autonomous human-like characters that can interact with humans within virtual worlds. He has extensive experience in the design and construction of simulations of social interaction for a variety of research and educational applications. His research has been supported by NIMH, NSF, NCI, AFOSR and RDECOM. Dr. Marsella was a recipient of the 2010 ACM/SIGART Autonomous Agents Research Award, He is a member of the International Society for Research on Emotions (ISRE), is a fellow in the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, and has published over 150 technical articles.


A growing body of work in psychology and the neurosciences has documented the functional role of emotions in human behavior. This has led to a significant growth in research on computational models of human emotional processes, driven by several concerns. First, there is increasing demand to use computational methods to simulate, and study, human emotional and social processes. Second, findings on the role that emotions play in human behavior have motivated artificial intelligence and robotics research to explore whether modeling emotion processes can lead to more intelligent, flexible and capable systems. Further, as research has revealed the deep role that emotion and its expression play in human social interaction, researchers have proposed that more effective human computer interaction can be realized if the interaction is mediated both by a model of the user's emotional state as well as by the expression of emotions. 

In this talk, I will discuss the computational modeling of emotions and consider the use of such models in a particular application area, virtual humans. Virtual humans are autonomous virtual characters that are designed to act like humans and interact with them in shared virtual environments, much as humans interact face-to-face with other humans. The simulation of emotions has emerged as a central challenge of virtual human architectures, as researchers have sought to endow virtual characters with emotion-related capabilities to facilitate their social interaction with human users.

EMA - A process model of appraisal dynamics

Assessing the validity of a computational model of emotional coping