If you thought it's only humans who lie, you couldn't be further from the truth. Even computer game characters can lie and be spiteful.
"There's a strong interest in virtual people. Usually in computer games, we come across a goal-driven dialogue where the player is limited to a number of pre-defined response alternatives," said study author Jenny Brusk.
"In my research, I studied how we can use language technology to create more socially-driven dialogues in games, with characters who can understand natural language," said Brusk, a lecturer in computer science at University of Skovde, Sweden.
To create socially intelligent characters, Brusk studied gossiping as a phenomenon and how it could be implemented in a dialogue system for games.
This implies a possibility to create more human-like game characters who for example are able to participate in social interaction and form relations with other characters.
"Gossip is a type of dialogue that defines our moral compass... we learn to master social codes through gossip. A game character with a more human-like behaviour always seems more interesting," noted Brusk.
Take for example a character who lies, loses face or is manipulative, he added.
The research is rooted in socio-linguistic science with complex dialogue systems.
What is new with Brusk's research is that these dialogue models can be implemented using standard technology, making them directly accessible for today's game industry.
The research has other potential uses outside the computer game industry as well.