Why would we give emotions to robots? My research has two goals. On the one hand, by building biologically-inspired models of emotions in robots, I would like to help understanding emotions in biological systems (humans and other animals) and their functions. From this perspective, we investigate questions such as: what are the key features of human and animal emotions that can be shared by autonomous robots in similar environments?
On the other hand, by modeling emotions in robots I also aim to build better robots. From this perspective, we investigate questions such as: how can emotions help robots to make “good” (e.g., appropriate, adapted to the specific circumstances, ethical) decisions? How can emotions make robots interact with people better (e.g., in a more personalized and supportive way)? In this talk I will discuss the above issues, illustrating them with selected examples of affective autonomous and social robots developed by my group.