Mental Model Ascription by Intelligent Agents
  • ISSN 1572-0373
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0381
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Mental model ascription – also called mindreading – is the process of inferring the mental states of others, which happens as a matter of course in social interactions. But although ubiquitous, mindreading is presumably a highly variable process: people mindread to different extents and with different results. We hypothesize that human mindreading ability relies on a large number of personal and contextual features: the inherent abilities of specific individuals, their current physical and mental states, their knowledge of the domain of discourse, their familiarity with the interlocutor, the risks associated with an incorrect assessment of intent, and so on. This paper presents a theory of mindreading that models diverse artificial intelligent agents using an inventory of parameters and value sets that represent traits of humans and features of discourse contexts. Examples are drawn from Maryland Virtual Patient, a prototype system that will permit medical trainees to diagnose and treat cognitively modeled virtual patients with the optional assistance of a virtual tutor. Since real patients vary greatly with respect to physiological and cognitive features, so must a society of virtual patients. Modeling such variation is one of the goals of the overall OntoAgent program of research and development.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): agent modeling; cognitive modeling; mental model ascription; mindreading
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