Katerina Pastra

Director at Cognitive Systems Research Institute

Greece · ATHENSJoined January 2018


The Cognitive Systems Research Institute (CSRI) is a non-governmental, non-profit research organization that specializes in the highly interdisciplinary field of Cognitive Systems. Its core activities comprise theoretical, experimental and computational research and development for exploration and modeling of fundamental mechanisms in human cognition.

Academic Studies (1)


University of Sheffield, U.K.

January 2001 - January 2005

Artificial Intelligence

Research areas of interest (16)

  • Information Processing, Information System, Workflow Management
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Data Processing / Data Interchange, Middleware
  • Databases, Database Management, Data Mining
  • Information Technology/Informatics
  • and 11 more

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A multimodal dataset of spontaneous speech and movement production on object affordances

Argiro Vatakis and Katerina Pastra
In the longstanding effort of defining object affordances, a number of resources have been developed on objects and associated knowledge. These resources, however, have limited potential for modeling and generalization mainly due to the restricted, stimulus-bound data collection methodologies adopted. To-date, therefore, there exists no resource that truly captures object affordances in a direct, multimodal, and naturalistic way. Here, we present the first such resource of ‘thinking aloud’, spontaneously-generated verbal and motoric data on object affordances. This resource was developed from the reports of 124 participants divided into three behavioural experiments with visuo-tactile stimulation, which were captured audiovisually from two camera-views (frontal/profile). This methodology allowed the acquisition of approximately 95 hours of video, audio, and text data covering: object-feature-action data (e.g., perceptual features, namings, functions), Exploratory Acts (haptic manipulation for feature acquisition/verification), gestures and demonstrations for object/feature/action description, and reasoning patterns (e.g., justifications, analogies) for attributing a given characterization. The wealth and content of the data make this corpus a one-of-a-kind resource for the study and modeling of object affordances.

The Minimalist Grammar of Action

Katerina Pastra and Yiannis Aloimonos
Language and action have been found to share a common neural basis and in particular a common ‘syntax’, an analogous hierarchical and compositional organization. While language structure analysis has led to the formulation of different grammatical formalisms and associated discriminative or generative computational models, the structure of action is still elusive and so are the related computational models. However, structuring action has important implications on action learning and generalization, in both human cognition research and computation. In this study, we present a biologically inspired generative grammar of action, which employs the structure-building operations and principles of Chomsky’s Minimalist Programme as a reference model. In this grammar, action terminals combine hierarchically into temporal sequences of actions of increasing complexity; the actions are bound with the involved tools and affected objects and are governed by certain goals. We show, how the tool role and the affected-object role of an entity within an action drives the derivation of the action syntax in this grammar and controls recursion, merge and move, the latter being mechanisms that manifest themselves not only in human language, but in human action too.

Embodied Language Processing: A New Generation of Language Technology

Katerina Pastra, Eirini Balta, Panagiotis Dimitrakis and Giorgos Karakatsiotis
At a computational level, language processing tasks are traditionally processed in a language-only space/context, isolated from perception and action. However, at a cognitive level, language processing has been shown experimentally to be embodied, i.e. to inform and be informed by perception and action. In this paper, we argue that embodied cognition dictates the development of a new generation of language processing tools that bridge the gap between the symbolic and the sensorimotor representation spaces. We describe the tasks and challenges such tools need to address and provide an overview of the first such suite of processing tools developed in the framework of the POETICON project.

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