Andrew Ortony

Professor Emeritus

Northwestern University

Phone: (914) 576-0480


Professional Background

I was educated in Britain, gaining my Bachelor's degree from the University of Edinburgh, where I majored in philosophy. Upon graduation, I became involved in the early days of Artificial Intelligence in the UK, working with my unofficial mentor, Donald Michie, and later with Christiopher Longuet-Higgins in Edinburgh University's Department of Machine intelligence and Perception. After a year as a lecturer in philosophy in West Africa, I returned to the UK earning a Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of London's Imperial College of Science and Technology. My Ph.D. dissertation was concerned with the design of a system for viewing and interacting with stereoscopic displays of computer generated images. In 1973, I joined the faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). There, with appointments in Education and in Psychology, I started to investigate questions having to do with knowledge representation and language understanding, concentrating in particular on the communicative functions of, and the processes involved in, the production and comprehension of nonliteral (especially metaphorical) uses of language. My approach to research problems is strongly interdisciplinary, as is evident from the diverse perspectives on metaphor represented in (the second, 1993, edition of) my edited book, Metaphor and Thought.

In 1981, in parallel with my work on metaphor, I started a long collaboration with Gerald Clore (now retired from the University of Virginia) working on the relationship between emotion and cognition. This culminated in the 1988 publication (with Allan Collins) of The Cognitive Structure of Emotions, the second edition of which was published in August, 2022. Proposed in this work is a computationally tractable model of the cognitive basis of emotion elicitation and intensity. The model, which in the affective computing community has come to be known as the OCC model, has become the starting point for a great deal of emotion modeling used in that community. 

In 1989 I moved to Northwestern University on the occasion of the establishment of an innovative Cognitive Science initiative in the form of The Institute for the Learning Sciences. There, with appointments in the Education, Psychology, and Computer Science, I became increasingly involved in emotion research as it relates to various aspects of Artificial Intelligence, including the design of intelligent agents, as well as in exploring the relationship between affect, cognition, motivation, behavior and personality--explorations that I undertook primarily in collaboration with my colleague Bill Revelle. Although retired, and now living in New Rochelle, New York, I am still very scientifically active and am curently working on an empirical project exploring the motivational underpinnings of (verbal) deception that I am conductiong with colleagues in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern.

Singapore Project

In 2006 I embarked on a major new research project in Singapore under the auspices of the Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore’s national agency for promoting research in science and technology. Located in the Institute for High Performance Computing (IHPC), the goal was to build a capability group with expertise in social cognitive science. In particular, we sought to develop models of plausible, contextually appropriate, social interaction. To this end, I assembled an interdisciplinary team of researchers with backgrounds in areas such as social and cognitive psychology, computational linguistics, decision theory, cognitive architectures and multi-agent systems, and social robotics. Having accomplished this main goal, and with a stable research group in Cognitive and Social Computing established, my formal involvement in the project ended in 2013.

Downloadable Publications

Ortony, A. (1971). A system for stereo viewing. Computer Journal, 14, 140-144. Reprinted in Proceedings of IEE conference on displays, IEE Conference Publication No. 80, 1971, and in The best computer papers of 1971. Princeton, NJ: AuerbachPublishers, Inc., 1972.

Ortony, A. (1975). Why metaphors are necessary and not just nice. Educational Theory, 25, 45-53. Reprinted in M. J. Ganon, (Ed.) Cultural metaphors: Readings, research translations, and commentary. Thousand Oaks, CA.: Sage Publications.

Ortony, A. (1975). Language isn't for people: On applying theoretical linguistics to practical problems. Review of Educational Research, 45, 485-504.

Anderson, R. C., & Ortony, A. (1975). On putting apples into bottles: A problem of polysemy. Cognitive Psychology, 7, 167-180.

Ortony, A. (1975). How episodic is semantic memory? In Theoretical issues in natural language processing: An interdisciplinary workshop in computational linguistics, psychology, linguistics, and artificial intelligence. Cambridge, MA.

Halff, H. M., Ortony, A., & Anderson, R. C. (1976). A context-sensitive representation of word meanings. Memory & Cognition, 4, 378-383.

Trollip, S., & Ortony, A. (1977). Real time simulation in computer assisted instruction. Instructional Science, 6, 135-149.

Ortony, A., & Anderson, R. C. (1977). Definite descriptions and semantic memory. Cognitive Science, 1, 74-83.

Rumelhart, D. E., & Ortony, A. (1977). The representation of knowledge in memory. In R. C. Anderson, R. J. Spiro & W. E. Montague (Eds.), Schooling and the acquisition of knowledge. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Ortony, A. (1978). Remembering, understanding, and representation. Cognitive Science, 2, 53-69.

Ortony, A., Reynolds, R. E. & Arter, J. A. (1978). Metaphor: Theoretical and empirical research. Psychological Bulletin, 85, 919-943.

Ortony, A., Schallert, D. L., Reynolds, R. E. & Antos, S. J. (1978). Interpreting metaphors and idioms: Some effects of context on comprehension.Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 17, 465-477.

Ortony, A. (1979). Beyond literal similarity. Psychological Review, 86, 161-180. Translated and reprinted in C. Cacciari (Ed.) (1991), Teorie della metafora, Milan, Italy: Rafaello Cortina Editore.

Reynolds, R. E. & Ortony, A. (1980). Some issues in the measurement of children's comprehension of metaphorical language.Child Development, 51, 1110-1119.

Ortony, A. & Clore, G L. (1981). Disentangling the affective lexicon. In Proceedings of the third annual conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Berkeley, CA.

Vosniadou, S. & Ortony, A. (1983). The emergence of the literal-metaphorical-anomalous distinction in young children. Child Development, 54, 154-161.

Ortony, A., Turner, T. J. & Antos, S. J. (1983). A puzzle about affect for recognition memory. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 9, 725-729.

Vosniadou, S., Ortony, A., Reynolds, R. E. & Wilson, P. T. (1984). Sources of difficulty in children's understanding of metaphorical language. Child Development, 55, 1588-1606. Reprinted in M. B. Franklin & S. S. Barten (Eds.) (1988), Child Language: A Reader. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

Ortony, A., Vondruska, R. J., Foss, M. A. & Jones, L. E. (1985). Salience, similes, and the asymmetry of similarity. Journal of Memory and Language, 24, 569-594.

Ortony, A. (1987). Cognitive development and the language of mental states. Discourse Processes, 10, 193-199.

Ortony, A., Clore, G. L. & Foss, M. A. (1987). The referential structure of the affective lexicon. Cognitive Science, 11, 341-364.

Clore G. L., Ortony, A. & Foss, M. A. (1987). The psychological foundations of the affective lexicon. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 751-766.

Fainsilber, L. & Ortony, A. (1987). Metaphor production in the description of emotional states. Metaphor and Symbolic Activity, 2, 239-250.

Ortony, A. & Partridge, D. (1987). Surprisingness and expectation failure: What's the difference? In Proceedings of the tenth international joint conference on artificial intelligence. Milan, Italy.

Ortony, A. (1987). Is guilt an emotion? Cognition & Emotion, 1, 283-298.

Ortony, A. (1988). Are emotion metaphors conceptual or lexical? Cognition & Emotion, 2, 95-103.

Ortony, A. & Radin, D. I. (1989). SAPIENS: Spreading Activation Processor for Information Encoded in Network Structures. In N. Sharkey (Ed.), Models of cognition: A review of cognitive science. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corporation.

Medin, D. L. & Ortony, A. (1989). Psychological Essentialism. In S. Vosniadou & A. Ortony (Eds.), Similarity and analogical reasoning. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Ortony, A. & Clore, G. L. (1989). Emotions, moods, and conscious awareness. Cognition & Emotion, 3, 125-137.

Ortony, A. & Turner, T. J. (1990). What's basic about basic emotions? Psychological Review, 97, 315-331.

Ortony, A. (1991). Value and emotion. In W. Kessen, A. Ortony, & F. Craik (Eds.) Memories, thoughts, and emotions: Essays in honor of George Mandler. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Clore, G. L. & Ortony, A. (1991). What more is there to emotion concepts than prototypes? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 60, 48-50.

Frijda, N. H., Ortony, A., Sonnemans, J. & Clore, G. L. (1992). The complexity of intensity: Issues concerning the structure of emotion intensity. In M. Clark (Ed.), Emotion: Review of personality and social psychology, 13. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Turner, T. J. & Ortony, A. (1992). Basic emotions: Can conflicting criteria converge? Psychological Review, 99, 566-571.

O'Rorke, P. & Ortony, A. (1994). Explaining emotions. Cognitive Science, 18, 283-323.

Gilboa, E. & Ortony, A. (1998). Hours of happiness and days of despair: A study of valence asymmetry. In Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the International Society for Research on Emotions, Wurtzburg, Germany, (pp. 165-169).

Clore, G. L. & Ortony, A. (2000). Cognition in emotion: Always, sometimes, or never? In L. Nadel, R. Lane & G. L. Ahern (Eds).The cognitive neuroscience of emotion. New York: Oxford University Press.

Ortony, A. (2003). On making believable emotional agents believable. In R. Trappl, P. Petta & S. Payr (Eds.), Emotions in humans and artifacts. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Norman, D.A., Ortony, A., & Russell, D.M. (2003). Affect and machine design: Lessons for the development of autonomous machines. IBM Systems Journal, 42, 38-44.

Ortony, A., Norman, D. A. & Revelle, W. (2005). Affect and proto-affect in effective functioning. In J.M. Fellous & M.A. Arbib (eds.), Who needs emotions: The brain meets the robot. New York: Oxford University Press.

Ortony, A., Revelle, W. & Zinbarg, R. (2007). Why Emotional Intelligence needs a fluid component. In G. Matthews, M. Zeidner & R. D. Roberts (Eds.). The Science of Emotional Intelligence. New York: Oxford University Press.

Fua, K., Horswill, I., Ortony, A. & Revelle, W. (2009). Reinforcement sensitivity theory and cognitive architectures. In Technical Report of the Symposium on Biologically Inspired Cognitive Architectures, AAAI Fall Symposium Series, Arlington, VA, November 5-7.

Pautler, D., Koenig, B., Quek, B-K. & Ortony, A. (2011). Using modified incremental chart parsing to ascribe intentions to animated geometric figures. Behavior Research Methods, 43(3), 643-665.

Swarat, S., Ortony, A., & Revelle, W. (2012).  Activity matters: Understanding student interest in school science.  Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 49(4), 515-537.

Quek, B-K & Ortony, A. (2012). Assessing implicit attitudes: What can be learned from simulations? Social Cognition, 30(5), 610-630.

Gupta, S., Sakamoto, K. & Ortony, A. (2013). Telling it like it isn't: A comprehensive approach to analyzing verbal deception. In F. Paglieri, L. Tummolini, R. Falcone & M. Miceli (Eds.), The goals of cognition: Festschrift for Cristiano Castelfranchi. London, College Publications.

Clore, G. L. & Ortony, A. (2013). Psychological construction in the OCC model of emotion. Emotion Review, 5, 335-343.

Yang, Y., Falcao, H., Delicado, N. & Ortony, A. (2014). Reducing mistrust in agent-human negotiations. IEEE Intelligent Systems, 29(2), 36-43.

Ortony, A. & Clore, G.L. (2014). Can an appraisal model be compatible with psychological constructionism? In L. F. Barrett & J. R. Russell (Eds.) The Psychological Construction of Emotion. New York: Guilford Press.

Fiori, M. & Ortony, A. (2016). Are emotionally intelligent individuals hypersensitive to emotions? Testing the Curse of Emotion. Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings, 10023.

Monroe, B.M., Koenig, B.L., Wan, K.S., Laine, T., Gupta, S., & Ortony, A. (2018). Re-examining dominance of categories in impression formation: A test of dual-process models. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Attitudes and Social Cognition, 115(1), 1-30.

Radulovic, J., Lee, R. & Ortony, A. (2018). State-dependent memory: Neurobiological advances and prospects for translation to dissociative amnesia. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 12, 1-12.

Ortony, A. & Gupta, S. (2018). Lying and deception. In J. Meibauer (Ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Lying, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. 

Fiori, M. & Ortony, A. (2021). Initial evidence for the hypersensitivity hypothesis: Emotional Intelligence as a magnifier of emotional experience. Journal of Intelligence, 9(2), 24. 

Ortony, A. (2023). Are all “Basic Emotions” emotions? A problem for the (basic) emotions construct. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 17(1), 41-61. 

Ortony, A. & Russell, J. A. (2024). On the invalidity of Neta and Kim’s argument that surprise is always valenced. Emotion Review, 16(1), 64-67. 


Full Curriculum Vitae


My mother, from Prague, and my father, from a small town in western Slovakia (center of map), met, married, and produced me, in England during WWII. After the war we all moved to Slovakia, but the political climate there caused my parents to send me back to England after a little over a year, and a few months later they joined me, and took up permanent residence in England. Thus, I grew up in Peterborough, England, some 70 miles north of London. Although growing up there it seemed dull and provincial, it does boast a majestic 13th century cathedral.

I moved to the United States in 1973, taking a position at the University of llinois at Urbana-Champaign where I stayed for 17 years, and where I raised my three wonderful children. Alison, my oldest daughter, graduated from UIUC with a major in Mathematics and is now an Assistant Principal in the Chicago Public School system. Her brother, Jacob, once a serious bicyclist, is now a family man working in information technology in Austin Texas, and, Julia, the youngest, is a nanotechologist in the Department Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, San Diego. Meanwhile, after my (technical) retirement, my wonderful neuroscientist wife, Jelena Radulovic, accepted an endowed chair in the Department of Neuroscience of the Albert Einstein College of medicine in the Bronx, while also running a lab in the Department of Biomedicine at the University of Aarhus in Denmark. We now live in New Rochelle, a 30 minute train ride from Mahattan, and more importantly, a 30 minute taxi ride to JFK Airport!

My one sibling—my sister, Claudia—lives with her husband in the English countryside. She and I were brought up on classical music, but she, unlike me, was very successful as a performer, playing the violin in professional orchestras. Nevertheless, I, although not a musician at all, am a great lover of classical music, and especially of 19th century opera. I used to be a regular subscriber to the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and now to the Metropolitan Opera. Many years ago I purchased a piano and started taking piano lessons. I figured that if nothing else, maybe I'd learn something about learning. What I learned is that learning can be hard, and alas, I made no progress with the piano! In spite of my lack of musical knowledge, I have written the libretto for a soon-to-be-completed (?) opera with an Israeli composer friend of mine. Of course, getting the thing performed will be impossible! Apart from my love of classical music, I'm mildly addicted to watching professional and college sports (usually football and basketball, and usually on TV).




Last updated: May 2024