FearNot! is a computer application first developed for the VICTEC European project, and further developed for the eCircus European project. The main aim of the FearNot! is to tackle and eventually help reduce bullying problems in schools.
Bullying is a behavior that is characterized as "a repeated action that occurs regularly over time, and usually involves an imbalance in strength, either real or perceived".Bullying has two main types: direct bullying, more usual between boys, where behaviors such as hitting, kicking or punching are common; and relational bullying, more usual between girls, where behaviors such as malicious rumor spreading or social exclusion are frequent.
One of the main aims of the project was to develop synthetic characters that could, through their appearances, behaviours and features allow the user to build empathic relations with them. The project's pedagogical objectives were met through the design and implementation of interactive, episodic and emergent virtual dramas where children were exposed to bullying scenarios in a safe school-based Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). The FearNot! application software (Fun with Empathic Agents to Achieve Novel Outcomes in Teaching) aimed to enable children to explore physical and relational bullying issues and coping strategies through empathic interactions with synthetic characters. In order to achieve these objectives, FearNot! provides children with various scenarios about bullying behaviour, that promote engagement and believability with synthetic characters in a social interaction.
The FearNot! demonstrator is available for download here along with instructions.
More videos available here.Publications
Agents that remember can tell stories: Integrating Autobiographic Memory into Emotional Agents
Wan Ching Ho and João Dias and Rui Figueiredo and Ana Paiva, AAMAS - Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, 2007
Shaping Emergent Narratives for a Pedagogical Application
Rui Figueiredo and João Dias and Ruth Aylett and Sandy Louchart and Ana Paiva