The Role of Emotion and Communication in Cooperative Behavior
Active from 2013 - 2016
The main hypothesis is that complex cooperative behavior arises through a principled interaction between emotion and communication. A primary emotion such as fearfulness results in avoiding the risky actions necessary for the task. This emotion is overcome through a second emotion, affiliation to the team. This emotion also enhances communication, which would otherwise be obscured by fear, so that the actions can be effectively coordinated. To evaluate the hypothesis, a computer scientist will join forces with a behavioral biologist in the proposed project. The approach is based on the principle that, to understand such behavior, it is useful to understand its evolutionary origins. This perspective leads to a unique methodology: using computational evolution to analyze and draw conclusions from an animal model. Specifically, the project focuses on the complex cooperation that emerges in spotted hyenas of Eastern Africa (Crocuta crocuta) when they compete for food resources with larger and more powerful animals, i.e. lions. The specific aims are to: (1) Characterize the target behavior and its endocrine correlates in detail in the animal model; (2) build a computational model that replicates the behavior; (3) determine how the behavior is produced in the model; (4) understand the evolutionary origins of the behavior; and (5) determine how problems with the behavior can be ameliorated. The end result will be a computationally verified theory of how emotions and communication mediate sophisticated cooperative behavior in mammals, and why it occurs this way. This research is supported by NIH under grant 5R01GM105042-02.
Joel Lehman Postdoctoral Fellow joel [at] cs utexas edu
Dan Lessin Ph.D. Student dlessin [at] cs utexas edu
Xun Li Ph.D. Student xun bhsfer [at] cs utexas edu
Padmini Rajagopalan Ph.D. Student padmini [at] cs utexas edu
Aditya Rawal Ph.D. Student aditya [at] cs utexas edu
Jacob Schrum Ph.D. Alumni schrum2 [at] southwestern edu
Risto Miikkulainen Faculty risto [at] cs utexas edu
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Evolving Multimodal Behavior Through Subtask and Switch Neural Networks Xun Li, Risto Miikkulainen In Proceedings of The Fourteenth International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Livi... 2014

Evolving Multimodal Behavior With Modular Neural Networks in Ms. Pac-Man Jacob Schrum and Risto Miikkulainen In Proceedings of the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO 2014), 325--332,... 2014

General Intelligence through Prolonged Evolution of Densely Connected Neural Networks Padmini Rajagopalan, Aditya Rawal, Kay E. Holekamp and Risto Miikkulainen To Appear In Proceedings of the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO 2014),... 2014

Overcoming Deception in Evolution of Cognitive Behaviors Joel Lehman and Risto Miikkulainen To Appear In Proceedings of the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference (GECCO 2014),... 2014

The Evolution of General Intelligence Padmini Rajagopalan, Kay E. Holekamp and Risto Miikkulainen To Appear In Proceedings of The Fourteenth International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulati... 2014

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