GRASP agents: social first, intelligent later

G.J. Hofstede*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


This paper urges that if we wish to give social intelligence to our agents, it pays to look at how we acquired our social intelligence ourselves. We are born with drives and motives that are innate and deeply social. Next, as children we are socialized to acquire norms and values and to understand rituals large and small. These social elements are the core of our being. We capture them in the acronym GRASP: Groups, Rituals, Affiliation, Status, Power. As a consequence, economic rationality or logical reasoning do not suffice when it comes to social intelligence. Basic features of our social behaviour, of the kind that one sees early in the lives of children, need to be prominent. These include fear, love, and aggression. They extend to the combination of these drives with basic social clues from the environment such as big and small, good and bad, as well as culture-specific specializations of these. This will make agents respond differentially to inferred attributes such as gender, age, group membership. This level of universality in social intelligence should receive our full attention. The general insights gained can then be re-used in myriad implementations to specific modelling issues.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)535-543
Number of pages9
JournalAI & society : the journal of human and machine intelligence
Issue number3
Early online date26 Dec 2017
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


  • Culture
  • Drives
  • Social intelligence
  • Status-power theory
  • Virtual agents
  • Volition


Dive into the research topics of 'GRASP agents: social first, intelligent later'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this