Character-building stories

TitleCharacter-building stories
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsWinston, PHenry, Holmes, D
Conference NameAdvances in Cognitive Systems
Date Published05/2017
Conference LocationTroy, NY

We argue that story understanding mechanisms provide a foundation for modeling aspects of our ability to reason hypothetically. We first note that story understanding mechanisms enable us to answer what-if questions about what would happen if an event did or did not occur, and we note that story understanding enables us to answer what-if questions about how a story would be interpreted from a different cultural perspective. We then advance a theory of how humans use hypothetical reasoning to think about personality traits. Our theory and implementation describe how humans use past behavior and untapped alternatives to build a model of characters’ motives and constraints.
We focus on how generalizations of existing story understanding methods and concepts enable us to model this competence efficiently. In a sample story, our theory and implementation perform a complex reasoning process to decide what a character will do next based on whether the character is more like a Conformist, Thief, Opportunist, or Robin Hood archetype.

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