The Social Intelligence Project is developing animated pedagogical agents with well-developed social skills, which they can employ to promote learning. The goal is to create agents that exhibit expressiveness (the ability to convey emotions and attitudes), empathy (sensitivity to learner motivational and emotional states), and politeness (an understanding of when and how to interact in socially appropriate ways). A new presentation about this project is available. Click here or on the slideshow icon to download a copy.


Updated: August 13, 2003 -- Several components of the envisioned agent have been developed. A user interface that tracks learner activities and focus of gaze and infers learner focus of attention, and which will be used to infer learner engagement and confusion, is currently being tested. The user interface also can be used by learners to report on their motivational factors. A tutorial dialog model has been developed that takes into account politeness factors such as social distance and power relationships. These are being incorporated into an integrated agent that assesses learner cogntive and motivational state and engages in socially appropriate tutorial dialog based on these factors and learner characteristics.


pedagogical agents, social intelligence, tutoring and scaffolding, learner modeling


  • W. Lewis Johnson
  • Erin Shaw
  • Catherine M. LaBore
  • Jeff Rickel
  • Sander Kole
  • Ning Wang
  • Hyok Yeong Lee
  • Lei Qu
  • Mattijs Ghijsen
  • Brett Rutland
  • Teresa Dey
  • Herwin Van Welbergen
  • Paola Rizzo, University of Rome "La Sapienza"
  • Helen Pain, University of Edinburg


  • National Science Foundation