Christiana Tsiourti, PhD


Curriculum Vitae

Christiana Tsiourti completed a Master of Science degree in Computer Science at the University of Cyprus with an honours thesis.  In 2018 she received her Ph.D. from the University of Geneva (Switzerland). Her research focused on how to make machines “social”, that is, how to endow virtual agents and robots with human-like social and affective capabilities, enabling them to interact with humans in a natural, flexible and transparent way. During the last year of her PhD, she joined the Vision4Robotics group at TU Wien (Austria) as a visiting researcher, with a full scholarship from the Swiss National Science Foundation. She subsequently spent one year as a postdoctoral researcher at the Vision4Robotics group. During this period, she conducted a series of empirical studies on the interactions of humans with social robots, and taught a course on human-robot interaction.   

Over the years, Christiana worked on several interdisciplinary research projects investigating techniques for creating artificial agents that simulate human-like social and affective capabilities such as emotions, personality, non-verbal behaviour, empathy, and others. More recently, her interests have broadened to encompass investigating various aspects of animal cognition and social behaviour.

In autumn 2019, she joined Messerli’s Comparative Cognition Unit as a postdoctoral researcher. She carries our empirical and theoretical work focusing on the nature, function, and evolutionary origin of cognitive processes underlying complex physical behaviour of canines. In parallel, Christiana is currently following the interdisciplinary Master Human-Animal Interactions at the Messerli Research Institute.

Main Fields of Research

  • Biological and artificial cognition
  • Associative learning theories and models
  • Computational modelling of physical cognition problems
  • Problem-solving and causal reasoning in animals
  • Wolf-dog comparisons, the behavioural effects of domestication
  • Human-animal interactions


C. Tsiourti, A. Weiss, K. Wac, and M. Vincze, “Multimodal Integration of Emotional Signals from Voice, Body, and Context: Effects of (In)Congruence on Emotion Recognition and Attitudes Towards Robots,” International Journal of Social Robotics, pp. 1–19, Feb. 2019. DOI:10.1007/s12369-019-00524-z

C. Tsiourti, A. Weiss, K. Wac, and M. Vincze, “Designing Emotionally Expressive Robots: A Comparative Study on the Perception of Communication Modalities,” in Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Human-Agent Interaction (HAI 2017), 2017. DOI: 10.1145/3125739.3125744 

C.Tsiourti, M. Ben-Moussa, J. Quintas, B. Loke, I. Jochem, J. A. Lopes, and D. Konstantas, “A Virtual Assistive Companion for Older Adults: Design and Evaluation of a Real-World Application”, in Proceedings of SAI Intelligent Systems Conference 2016, September 2016, London, United Kingdom.

K. Wac and C. Tsiourti, “Ambulatory assessment of affect: Survey of sensor systems for monitoring of autonomic nervous systems activation in emotion,” IEEE Transactions of Affective Computing, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 251–272, July 2014. DOI:10.1109/TAFFC.2014.2332157

M. R. Loghmani, C. Heider, Y. Chebotarev, C. Tsiourti, and M. Vincze, “Effects of task-dependent robot errors on trust in human-robot interaction: A pilot study,” in SmarterAAL workshop, co-located with the IEEE Smart World Congress 2019, August 2019, Leicester, UK. Best Innovation Paper Award.

C.Tsiourti, A.Weiss, “Multimodal affective behaviour expression: Can it transfer intentions?”, workshop Intentions in HRI, in conjunction with HRI 2017, March 2017, Vienna, Austria.


Christiana Tsiourti PhD.
E-Mail to Christiana Tsiourti