Applied Informatics Group

Dr. phil. Karola Pitsch

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Name: Dr. phil. Pitsch Karola
Email: kpitsch [AT]

Karola Pitsch is a Dilthey Fellow funded by the Volkswagen Foundation (2012-2016), and since 2013 heads the temporary research group “Interactional Linguistics & HRI” at CITECBielefeld University.


Research Topics

  • Multimodal Interaction, Conversation Analysis
  • Human-Robot-Interaction
    • Social Learning
  • Interaction & Technology, Workplace Studies
  • Interactional Linguistics
  • Classroom Interaction, Immersive Education

Karola’s research focuses on multimodal communication and social interaction in everyday, professional and technologically mediated settings. She investigates the practices by which human co-participants sequentially and multimodally coordinate and organize their courses of action. She uses insights from interactional research to inform the design and modeling of Human-Robot/Agent-Interaction, and explores how users perceive and co-construct a robot’s/agent's interactional skills. Besides designed HRI studies in the lab, Karola emphasises the exploration of novel technology "in the wild" and investigates how users deal with robot / agent systems in real-world situations. 

Karola draws on linguistic, ethnographic and Conversation Analytic (EM/CA) methods and attempts - in interdisciplinary projects - to link qualitative and quantitative approaches. Most recently, she has begun to integrate sequential micro-analysis of video-taped recordings with technical approaches (e.g. Motion Capturing, Augmented Reality) and modeling of interaction.


Group & PhD Students


Projects  (Details):

  • Interaction & Space. From Conversation Analysis to Human-Robot-Interaction (2012 - 2016, Volkswagen Foundation, Personal Dilthey Fellowship)
  • Interactional Coordination and Incrementality in HRI - A Museum Guide Robot (2013 - 2016, CITEC-IP, Principal Investigator, with S. Wrede)
  • Verstanden: Verständigungssicherung in der Sprachdialog-basierten Mensch-Technik-Interaktion mit einem Assistenzsystem für Menschen mit altersbedingten Einschränkungen (2013 - 2014, BMBF, Prinicipal Investigator, with S. Kopp)
  • VASA: Virtual Assistants and their Social Acceptability (2012 - 2014, CITEC, Principal Investigator, with S. Kopp)
  • Alignment in Augmented Reality based Cooperation (2010 - 2014, SFB 673, Project C5, Principal Investigator, with T. Hermann) 
  • ​SoziRob. A humanoid robot as fitness partner (2010 - 2013, German Aerospace Association, Associated Supervisor)
  • ​iTalk. Integration and Transfer of Action and Language Knowledge in Robots (2008 - 2012, EU, Research Staff)


Short Vita


Karola Pitsch is a Dilthey Fellow funded by the Volkswagen Foundation (2012-2016), and since 2013 heads the research group “Interactional Linguistics & HRI” at CITEC, Bielefeld University.


After studying French, Linguistics and History in Bielefeld and Paris (1995 - 2001), Karola received her PhD in Linguistics from Bielefeld University, Germany (2006, Dissertation Award of the Westfälisch-Lippische Universitätsgesellschaft). She has since held positions as postdoctoral researcher in EU-projects with the ‘Work, Interaction & Technology’ research centre at King’s College London, UK (2005 – 2008, Prof. C. Heath), and the Applied Informatics group and the CoR-Lab at Bielefeld University (2008 – 2011, Prof. G. Sagerer). She is Principal Investigator of projects within the CRC 673 ’Alignment in Communication’ and the Centre of Excellence ‘Cognitive Interaction Technology’ (CITEC), and a fellow in the ZiF Network of Young Scholars. 


Karola has undertaken extended research stays at UCLA (USA, supervisor: Ch. Goodwin), the universities of Tsukuba and Saitama (Japan), at Sorbonne University and Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (France), and at the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina).

Recent Best Paper/Poster Awards

Goal Babbling of Acoustic-Articulatory Models with Adaptive Exploration Noise
Philippsen A, Reinhart F, Wrede B (2016)
International Conference on Development and Learning and on Epigenetic Robotics (ICDL-EpiRob) 


Are you talking to me? Improving the robustness of dialogue systems in a multi party HRI scenario by incorporating gaze direction and lip movement of attendees
Richter V, Carlmeyer B, Lier F, Meyer zu Borgsen S, Kummert F, Wachsmuth S, Wrede B (2016)
International Conference on Human-agent Interaction (HAI) 


"Look at Me!": Self-Interruptions as Attention Booster?
Carlmeyer B, Schlangen D, Wrede B (2016)
International Conference on Human Agent Interaction (HAI)


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