The ACT-R CSSC project aims to develop a Cognitive Social Simulation Capability (CSSC) based on the ACT-R cognitive architecture. Cognitive social simulation is a computer simulation technique that attempts to understand the interaction between cognitive, social and technological factors in a variety of different task contexts. This makes the technique useful for understanding situations in which multiple individuals must work together to perform a cognitive task. Some examples include a team of medical practitioners working together to diagnose an illness, a team of intelligence analysts assessing intelligence information, and a team of engineers working to design a new product. All these tasks are ones in which aspects of human cognition play an important role. However, they are also ones in which issues of social engagement and interaction are of critical importance. The ACT-R CSSC aims to support computer simulations that emphasize the potential interactions between cognitive, social and technological factors in team-based tasks. The ACT-R CSSC relies on the use of the ACT-R cognitive architecture to model the capabilities and constraints of the human cognitive system in a realistic manner. This enables the simulations to accommodate mechanisms for learning, memory, attention and reasoning. In addition, the ACT-R CSSC provides support for the modelling of social processes. These allow individuals to communicate and share information, thereby influencing the activity of other team members.

ACT-R CSSC Project Logo

Research Areas

  • Cognitive Models
  • Cognitive Architectures
  • Social Simulation
  • Collective Cognition

International Technology Alliance (ITA)

The ACT-R CSSC project is being undertaken as part of the International Technology Alliance research program. The ITA is a consortium of academic, industrial and government partners working together to advance the current state-of-the-art in the information and network sciences. Our research partners on the ACT-R CSSC project include Carnegie Mellon University, IBM UK, Airbus and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory.


The ACT-R CSSC project aims to advance our understanding of the interaction between cognitive, social and technological factors in the context of socially-situated and socially-distributed tasks. By combining ACT-R cognitive models with social interaction mechanisms, it is possible to systematically investigate how cognitive, social and technological factors interact to influence cognitive performance at the collective or team level.


ACT-R LogoThe ACT-R CSSC project relies on the use of the ACT-R cognitive architecture. This is a computational modelling framework that has been used to model hundreds of phenomena encountered in the cognitive psychology and human factors literatures. The main focus of attention in the ACT-R CSSC project concerns how to apply ACT-R to situations in which agents must interact and share information in order to achieve some common task goal. The ACT-R CSSC project is exploring the use of custom ACT-R modules as a means to support social interaction and information sharing. It is also investigating the use of interaction mechanisms through the use of virtual user interfaces. This enables ACT-R cognitive models to interact with a variety of external environments and computer interfaces and provides the basis for modelling situations in which human subjects interact with one another via network-enabled devices.

Project Outputs