Anticipation in turn-taking: mechanisms and information sources

Riest C, Jorschick A, de Ruiter J (2015)
Frontiers in Psychology 6.

Journal Article | Published | English

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During conversations participants alternate smoothly between speaker and hearer roles with only brief pauses and overlaps. There are two competing types of accounts about how conversationalists accomplish this: (a) the signaling approach and (b) the anticipatory ('projection') approach. We wanted to investigate, first, the relative merits of these two accounts, and second, the relative contribution of semantic and syntactic information to the timing of next turn initiation. We performed three button-press experiments using turn fragments taken from natural conversations to address the following questions: (a) Is turn-taking predominantly based on anticipation or on reaction, and (b) what is the relative contribution of semantic and syntactic information to accurate turn-taking. In our first experiment we gradually manipulated the information available for anticipation of the turn end (providing information about the turn end in advance to completely removing linguistic information). The results of our first experiment show that the distribution of the participants' estimation of turn-endings for natural turns is very similar to the distribution for pure anticipation. We conclude that listeners are indeed able to anticipate a turn-end and that this strategy is predominantly used in turn-taking. In Experiment 2 we collected purely reacted responses. We used the distributions from Experiments 1 and 2 together to estimate a new dependent variable called Reaction Anticipation Proportion. We used this variable in our third experiment where we manipulated the presence vs. absence of semantic and syntactic information by low-pass filtering open-class and closed class words in the turn. The results suggest that for turn-end anticipation, both semantic and syntactic information are needed, but that the semantic information is a more important anticipation cue than syntactic information.
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Riest C, Jorschick A, de Ruiter J. Anticipation in turn-taking: mechanisms and information sources. Frontiers in Psychology. 2015;6.
Riest, C., Jorschick, A., & de Ruiter, J. (2015). Anticipation in turn-taking: mechanisms and information sources. Frontiers in Psychology, 6.
Riest, C., Jorschick, A., and de Ruiter, J. (2015). Anticipation in turn-taking: mechanisms and information sources. Frontiers in Psychology 6.
Riest, C., Jorschick, A., & de Ruiter, J., 2015. Anticipation in turn-taking: mechanisms and information sources. Frontiers in Psychology, 6.
C. Riest, A. Jorschick, and J. de Ruiter, “Anticipation in turn-taking: mechanisms and information sources”, Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 6, 2015.
Riest, C., Jorschick, A., de Ruiter, J.: Anticipation in turn-taking: mechanisms and information sources. Frontiers in Psychology. 6, (2015).
Riest, Carina, Jorschick, Annett, and de Ruiter, Jan. “Anticipation in turn-taking: mechanisms and information sources”. Frontiers in Psychology 6 (2015).
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Timing in turn-taking and its implications for processing models of language.
Levinson SC, Torreira F., Front Psychol 6(), 2015
PMID: 26124727

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