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Henricus Verhagen

About me

I am a senior lecturer at the department of computer and systems sciences. There, I am the head of one of the four units, the unit interaction design and learning. My research concerns amongst others computer games and gaming, computational social simulation, agent theories and models inspired by social science (AI and social ontology), and ethics and AI. I am also currently president for the European Social Simulation Association (ESSA).

You can find my research publications via Google scholar:

Please observe that even though SU prefers my official first name Henricus, I in almost all publications and other occasions use my calling name Harko.


A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • Design Heuristics for Ethical Online Institutions

    2022. Pablo Noriega (et al.). Coordination, Organizations, Institutions, Norms, and Ethics for Governance of Multi-Agent Systems XV, 213-230


    A major challenge in AI is designing autonomous systems that capture the values of stakeholders, and do so in such away that one can assess the extent to which that system’s behaviour is aligned to those values. In this paper we discuss our response to this challenge that is both practical and built on clear principles. Specifically, we propose eleven heuristics to organise the process of making values operational in the design of particular class of AI systems called online institutions. These are governed systems of interacting communities of human and autonomous artificial agents.

    Read more about Design Heuristics for Ethical Online Institutions
  • Fishing Together?: Exploring the Murky Waters of Sociality

    2022. Nanda Wijermans, Harko Verhagen. Multi-Agent-Based Simulation XXII, 180-193


    Collective action research of natural resource use aims to understand why and when collective overuse arises. Agent-based simulations and behavioural experiments are part of the toolkit for this quest. In most agent-based simulation models however, individual and collective decision-making are discerned, but the crucial transition between these two stances is understudied. In this paper we formalise computational agents able to think and act from an individual, social, or collective stance using a combination of empirical findings and theoretical models on togetherness. To this end, we use a conceptual agent framework to adapt and extend an existing agent-based model designed to advance the understanding of group processes for sustainable governance of dynamic common pool resource environments. The findings of the paper are mainly a conceptual model and future research will further develop the framework as well as the agent-based model for further understanding of the processes involved.

    Read more about Fishing Together?
  • Digital Games-Based Teaching in Swedish Compulsory and Upper Secondary Schools

    2019. Melinda Máthé, Harko Verhagen, Mats Wiklund. Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Game Based Learning, 503-511


    The interest in research around digital games in education has been significant; however, the integration of games in teaching and teachers´ practice-based use is still somewhat an unexplored area. In this study, we investigate digital game implementation practices and challenges of teachers in Swedish compulsory and upper secondary schools and investigate how factors such as age, gender, and teaching-gaming background may influence digital game-based teaching practices. This study is the first to collect a comprehensive set of data in the Swedish context. Data were collected during March and April 2019 through an online survey consisting of 37 questions from 181 respondents. Our findings show that teachers in our sample apply gamification tools and a variety of digital games across different subject areas, typically to motivate student and practice knowledge. We find that slightly more females use gamification tools and educational games than males while males and young teachers are more likely to use entertainment games for teaching. Teachers report motivational and cognitive outcomes of digital games-based learning but perceive games as less effective for teaching communicative and analytical skills. The access to good quality resources applicable to the curriculum is a concern among all the teachers. However, teachers new to digital games-based teaching are mostly concerned about the integration of games and their unfamiliarity with game-related technologies. Teachers with experience in the area are mostly concerned about game costs, access to good quality resources and preparation time. Future work will include a broader analysis of the data and results may be used to support the customization of game-based teaching tools and professional development programs to meet the needs of teachers.

    Read more about Digital Games-Based Teaching in Swedish Compulsory and Upper Secondary Schools
  • A Manifesto for Conscientious Design of Hybrid Online Social Systems

    2017. Pablo Noriega (et al.). Coordination, Organizations, Institutions, and Norms in Agent Systems XII, 60-78


    Online Social Systems such as community forums, social media, e-commerce and gaming are having an increasingly significant impact on our lives. They affect the way we accomplish all sorts of collective activities, the way we relate to others, and the way we construct are own self-image. These systems often have both human and artificial agency creating what we call online hybrid social systems. However, when systems are designed and constructed, the psychological and sociological impact of such systems on individuals and communities is not always worked out in advance. We see this as a significant challenge for which coordination, organisations, institutions and norms are core resources and we would like to make a call to arms researchers in these topics to subscribe a conscientious approach to that challenge. In this paper we identify a class of design issues that need attention when designing hybrid online social systems and propose to address those problems using conscientious design which is underpinned by ethical and social values. We present an austere framework to articulate those notions and illustrate these ideas with an example. We outline five lines of research that we see worth pursuing.

    Read more about A Manifesto for Conscientious Design of Hybrid Online Social Systems
  • A model of non-player character believability

    2017. Henrik Warpefelt, Harko Verhagen. Journal of Gaming & Virtual Worlds 9 (1), 39-53


    In this study we aim to describe in what ways non-player characters (NPCs) affect believability. To this end, we have conducted an online survey, where respondents were asked to classify and describe NPCs. Furthermore, we also examined recordings of NPCs in games. These data sources were examined using a model for NPC believability in order to describe the effect on believability by different types of NPCs. Based on this, we were able to construct a model of NPC believability, based on the NPC’s level of complexity and ability to handle a mutable social context. As described by the model, NPCs are currently less capable of handling changing social contexts. They do, however, show promise, and given current emerging technologies it is feasible that new types of more socially capable NPCs will arise within the near future.

    Read more about A model of non-player character believability
  • Simulation of Complex Systems

    2017. Paul Davidsson, Franziska Klügl, Harko Verhagen. Springer Handbook of Model-Based Science, 783-797


    Understanding and managing complex systems has become one of the biggest challenges for research, policy and industry. Modeling and simulation of complex systems promises to enable us to understand how a human nervous system and brain not just maintain the activities of a metabolism, but enable the production of intelligent behavior, how huge ecosystems adapt to changes, or what actually influences climatic changes. Also man-made systems are getting more complex and difficult, or even impossible, to grasp. Therefore we need methods and tools that can help us in, for example, estimating how different infrastructure investments will affect the transport system and understanding the behavior of large Internet-based systems in different situations. This type of system is becoming the focus of research and sustainable management as there are now techniques, tools and the computational resources available. This chapter discusses modeling and simulation of such complex systems. We will start by discussing what characterizes complex systems.

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  • The simplicity of complex agents

    2016. Corinna Elsenbroich, Harko Verhagen. Mind & Society 15 (1), 131-143


    Collective dilemmas have attracted widespread interest in several social sciences and the humanities including economics, sociology and philosophy. Since Hardin’s intuitive example of the Tragedy of the Commons, many real-world public goods dilemmas have been analysed with a wide ranging set of possible and actual solutions. The plethora of solutions to these dilemmas suggests that people make different kinds of decision in different situations. Rather than trying to find a unifying kind of reasoning to capture all situations, as the paradigm of rationality has done, this article develops a framework of agent decision-making for social simulation, that takes seriously both different kinds of decision making as well as different interpretations of situations. The Contextual Action Framework for Computational Agents allows for the modelling of complex social phenomena, like dilemma situations, with relatively simple agents by shifting complexity from an agent’s cognition to an agent’s context.

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Show all publications by Henricus Verhagen at Stockholm University