Synthetic Psychology

vehicles 1
One vehicle moving towards a stimuli, the other avoiding it.

A pamphlet titled ‘Vehicles’ by Italian Cyberneticist valentine braitenberg may offer some direction here. Braitenberg create simple wheeled vehicles, with sensors hooked up to control wheel motors. Different configurations of sensors and motors would result in very different behaviours in response to lights and each other, with some vehicles avoiding stimulus,  some charging towards it and others seeming caught between two minds.

vehicles 2
Vehicles identified as ‘Love’ and ‘Explorer’ by visitors to the lab.

People visiting his lab attributed the vehicles with emotional states, intentions, and characteristics such as love and curiosity. He created a really beautiful illustrated pamphlet describing and reflecting on this process, which inaugerated the field of synthetic psychology.

This project will explore the use of autonomous agents to externalise and personify thoughts and feelings in shared spaces.