Aim and Scope

The application of games to technology, as manifested in computer (console) based, virtual environments and with physical robots, has provided a fruitful avenue for studying cognitive and emotional phenomena. It has also provided a means for facilitating and understanding about learning processes and clinical deficits within learning and decision making. Different approaches exist not only to formulating games for human participants but with respect to the methodologies used in order to collect and analyse data. Cross-talk between disciplines exploiting different approaches could greatly benefit scientific understanding of how gaming can best be administered as a learning/cognitive tool. The discipline of citizen science for capturing data using games (e.g. via crowdsourcing), for example, is growing, but can create tension as gaming and science can be seen as incompatible areas of activity. Human-robot interaction has also, in recent years, been studied in the context of interactive gaming and often in clinical studies but typically at the level of case study or perhaps in regard to a limited population/dataset. Similarly, games testing within technological applications provides a useful benchmarking tool for a given Artificial Intelligence algorithm. DeepMind, for example, has used retro Atari games for testing the learning capabilities of algorithms such as Deep Q-Networks (DQNs). Such benchmark testing using gaming has the potential to facilitate understanding of the algorithms that underlie human brain functioning and behaviour. Gaming and AI, and its cross-disciplinary use, may be applied to specific strategically important groups within Sweden. According to the Artificial Intelligence in Swedish Business and Society Vinnova Report VR 2018:12, a potential area in which AI is required is education in schools. AI is considered to have the potential to support the education sector and to help create future jobs. This may be facilitated by development of both student and teacher competence with respect to exploiting AI tools using games in the classroom. For students to fully exploit AI in the classroom to serve their present study and future work prospects the tools should be tailored to individual and social learning settings tracked and adapted by teachers to fit course requirements using affective and emotional content as a guide. The use of games and gaming strategies are also having an increasingly important function within healthcare and are used by healthcare professionals as a means of achieving cognitive intervention or therapeutic results. The games themselves may take the form of relatively simply point and click memory and decision making tasks that are underpinned by neuropsychological theory. Such learning games have been used to provide intervention of early warning indicators of emotional deficits and neurodegeneration.

Our workshop seeks to promote cross-talk between different disciplines engaged in the use of games to study cognitive performance and learning and for applications of strategic importance within Sweden (i.e. AI and education, Ai and healthcare). Lectures and discussion groups will illuminate areas for cross-disciplinary collaboration aimed at furthering the use of games driven by artificial intelligence algorithms and technologies and utilized to evaluate emotional and cognitive facets of the gaming human agent. The format of the two-day workshop entails presentations from a number of invited speakers with internationally-renowned expertise in the use of games, artificial intelligence algorithms and emotion evaluative systems for basic research and for pedagogic and clinical applications. We will invite contributions, open to peer review, from the wider public to participate at the event. The workshop will also include panel discussions and a dedicated session among the speakers and organizer(s) designed to illuminate common research directions and future collaborations.

The aim of this workshop is to bring together world leading experts from areas of neural computational theoretical research that hold differing perspectives on the nature of (hierarchical) neural dynamics and predictive processing and their role in perception and cognition, as well as the role of development and affective (and affective regulatory) processes in such processing. The symposium will also aim at elucidating further how such cognitive theory can bring to bear on industry applied research where it concerns autonomous systems, above all in the areas of robotics and autonomous vehicles.


Lindholmen Conference Centre, Lindholmspiren 5 SE-402 78, Gothenburg, Sweden

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Invited Speakers

  • Hatice Gunes

    Hatice Gunes

    Univeristy of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

    Hatice is a Reader (Associate Professor) in Affective Intelligence and Robotics at University of Cambridge's Department of Computer Science and Technology. Her current research vision is to embrace the challenges present in the area of health and empower the lives of people through creating socio-emotionally intelligent technology. This vision is currently supported by three new projects funded by prestigious and competitive grants via the EU H2020 Programme (2019–2021), the EPSRC Fellowship Programme (2019–2024) and the Turing Fellowship Programme (2019-2021). She is the President (Oct 2017-Oct 2019) of the Association for the Advancement of Affective Computing (AAAC) and was previously the Chair of the Steering Board of IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing.

    Talk: TBA

  • Joost Broekens

    Joost Broekens

    Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS), Leiden University, Leiden, Netherlands.

    Joost Broekens (Phd) is assistant professor of Affective Computing at Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS) of Leiden University, and co-founder and CTO of Interactive Robotics. His research includes computational modeling of emotion (mood, appraisal, applied in games, robots and agents, and theoretical), human-robot interaction and Reinforcement Learning. He is member of the executive board of the Association for the Advancement of Affective Computing (AAAC), associate editor of the Adaptive Behavior journal, and member of the steering committee of the IEEE Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction Conference. He organized interdisciplinary workshops on topics including computational modelling of emotion (Lorentz, Leiden, 2011), grounding emotion in adaptation (IROS, 2016), and emotion as feedback signals (Lorentz, Leiden, 2016), and edited special issues on these topics (in e.g., Springer LNAI, IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing, and Adaptive Behavior).

    Talk: TBA

  • Georgios Yannakakis

    Georgios Yannakakis

    Institute of Digital Games, University of Malta (UM)

    Professor Yannakakis is the Director of the Institute of Digital Games, University of Malta (UM). He received the PhD degree in Informatics from the University of Edinburgh in 2006. Prof Yannakakis does research at the crossroads of artificial intelligence, computational creativity, affective computing, advanced game technology, and human-computer interaction. He pursues research concepts such as user experience modelling and procedural content generation for the design of personalized interactive systems for entertainment, education, training and health. He has published over 200 journal and conference papers in the aforementioned fields. His research has been supported by numerous national and European grants (including a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship) and has appeared in Science Magazine and New Scientist among other venues. He is currently an Associate Editor the IEEE Transactions on Games and was an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing between 2009 and 2017.

    Talk: TBA

  • Christian Balkenius

    Christian Balkenius

    Department of Philosophy, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

    Christian Balkenius is a professor of Cognitive Science at Lund University. His research concerns understanding the human brain and the mechanisms behind attention, memory and learning. He develops and test theories of human cognitions by reproducing human abilities in artificial systems, such as computers and robots. A special focus is on how the early development of infants can be reproduced in robots. He has receive a number of Swedish and EU research grants and recently received a Marianne och Marcus Wallenbergs research grant on the theme of “The imperfect creator creating the perfect: Ethics for autonomous systems/AI” and was also just recently made director for the research school within WASP-HS.

    Talk: TBA

  • Emilia Barakova

    Emilia Barakova

    Department of Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands

    Emilia Barakova is Assistant Professor of Socially Intelligent Systems. She is the head of the Social Robotics Lab, leader of the Physical and Social Rehabilitation educational squad, and an editor of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, Associate Editor of International Journal of Social Robotics and Journal of Integrative Neuroscience. Barakova is an expert in the field of embodied social interaction with and through technology, social, cognitive and brain-inspired robotics, modeling expressiveness of movement and designing technologies for individuals in social isolation and special needs groups. She has specialized in combining methods from neuro- and cognitive sciences, robotics, and computational intelligence to model social behavior. Several of her research projects focus on children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), elderly with dementia, and embodying emotions and intelligence in robots.

    Talk: TBA

  • Jacob Sherson

    Jacob Sherson

    Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark

    Prof Sherson works at Aarhus University and he is Professor MSO, Founding director of Center for Hybrid Intelligence and the project. Prof Sherson is an internationally known quantum physicist who has, amongst other achievements, set the world record for quantum teleportation. He founded ScienceAtHome to create an online platform that democratizes science by turning research problems into engaging games that both capture novel solution approaches and educate citizens and students on science concepts. With the help of gamers around the world.

    Talk: TBA

  • Emilia Gomez-Gutierrez

    Emilia Gomez-Gutierrez

    Lead Scientist of the Human Behaviour and Machine Intelligence (HUMAINT) Project, Centre for Advanced Studies, Joint Research Centre, European Commission

    Emilia is an Associate Professor at the Department of Information and Communication Technologies (DTIC). Her research background consists both of engineering and music. Starting from the music domain, Emilia researches on the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) into human behaviour. In particular, she is interested in the interaction between humans and algorithms, how AI impacts cognitive and socio-emotional development and the impact of algorithms in human decision making.

    Talk: TBA

  • Jurriaan Van Rijswijk

    Jurriaan Van Rijswijk

    Chairman of the Games for Healthy European Foundation, Netherlands

    Jurriaan van Rijswijk is Applied Game Architect for 20 years. He develops game strategies and designs behavior change with games for among others healthcare professionals, therapies for patients with chronic illnesses, mental and emotional health therapies, lifestyle interventions and rehabilitation. He developed and produced more than 800 applied games and game concepts. Many of his games won various awards and/or are clinically and/or scientifically validated.

    Talk: TBA

  • Ana Vivas

    Ana Vivas

    University of Sheffield, International Faculty.

    Professor in Cognitive Psychology and Neuropsychology at the University of Sheffield, International Faculty. Prof Vivas has received funds from several multidisciplinary European research projects. Prof Vivas studies inhibitory control and executive functions using behavioural and neuroscience methods, and informed by brain pathology She is also interested in looking at how these cognitive processes are affected by healthy and pathological (dementia) aging, and cognitive interventions.

    Talk: TBA

  • Marisa Ponti

    Marisa Ponti

    University of Gothenburg

    Marisa Ponti has a background in Sociology and Social Computing. Her current research interests include Data, Data Infrastructure and Citizen-Generated Data; Games in Citizen Science, and Human Computation. Currently, she leads a research project titled Optimizing human computation using a game with a purpose (2019-2022), supported by Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation.

    Talk: TBA


Below is the schedule for the two-day symposium May 11th and May 12th.

Time Place Speaker Talk Description
08h45 TBA Organizers Introduction to the Workshop: May 11th
09h00 May 11th TBA Hatice Gunes TBA Invited Speaker
10h00 May 11th TBA Joost Broekens TBA Invited Speaker
11h00 Coffee Break and Poster Session -
11h30 May 11th TBA Georgios Yannakakis TBA Invited Speaker
12h30 Lunch Break -
13h30 May 11th TBA Christian Balkenius TBA Invited Speaker
14h30 Talk 1 Submitted contribution
15h00 Talk 2 Submitted contribution
15h30 Coffee Break and Poster Session -
16h00 May 11th TBA Emilia Barakova TBA TBA
17h00 TBA Panel Discussion -
17h40 End of Day 1 -
08h45 Organizers Introduction to the Symposium: May 12th
09h00 May 12th TBA Jacob Sherson TBA
10h00 May 12th TBA Emilia Gomez-Gutierrez TBA
11h00 Coffee Break and Poster Session -
11h30 May 12th TBA Jurriaan Van Rijswijk TBA
12h30 Lunch Break -
13h30 May 12th TBA Ana Vivas TBA
14h30 Talk 3 Submitted contribution
15h00 Talk 4 Submitted contribution
15h30 Coffee Break and Poster Session -
16h00 May 12th TBA Marisa Ponti TBA
17h00 TBA Panel Discussion and Closing Comments -
17h40 End of Day 2 -


    The organizers would like to thank the University of Gothenburg for sponsoring this event.



  • Robert Lowe

    Robert Lowe

    University of Gothenburg

    Docent in Cognitive Science at the Department of Applied IT in the division of Cognitive Science and Communication, Gothenburg University. Robert Lowe has a background in Psychology and Computer science and research interests in Affective Computing, Cognitive Robotics and Computational modelling.

  • Marisa Ponti

    Marisa Ponti

    University of Gothenburg

    Dr Marisa Ponti is Assistant Professor in the Division of Learning, Communication and IT, at the department of Applied IT.