Date of Award

August 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Electrical Engineering and Computer Science


Garrett E. Katz


Artificial Intelligence, empathy, Markov Decision Process

Subject Categories



Among the different emotional functions, empathy is difficult to model but is important for a robot to have so that they can socially interact with society. Perceived empathy has positive consequences on attitude and the social behaviors of an individual. The project aims to model empathic behavior and perceptive capabilities in a robot in such a way that they can engage in empathic interactions with other agents in a shared physical space. In this study, a small grid environment world was designed and developed with multiple agents. Also, The Markov Decision Process and a Hand Coded algorithm were implemented and compared to study the influence of empathy on the robot agent’s behavior. In this environment when empathy, needy and food parameters are varied from -1 to 1, -1 to 1, and unlimited to limited supply, respectively, change is observed in the behavior of the robot agent. When the food supply is unlimited, the robot agent can either aid or avoid other agents based on the positive, zero or negative values of empathy and needy. In contrast, when food supply is limited, the robot agent’s behavior towards other agents varies based upon the greater of the two values.


Open Access

Included in

Engineering Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.