Processing Instructions

Weiß P, Pfeiffer T, Eikmeyer H-J, Rickheit G (2006)
In: Situated Communication. Rickheit G, Wachsmuth I (Eds); Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter: 31-76.

Sammelwerksbeitrag | Veröffentlicht | Englisch
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Rickheit, Gert; Wachsmuth, Ipke
Abstract / Bemerkung
Instructions play an important role in everyday communication, e.g. in task-oriented dialogs. Based on a (psycho-)linguistic theoretical background, which classifies instructions as requests, we conducted experiments using a cross-modal experimental design in combination with a reaction time paradigm in order to get insights in human instruction processing. We concentrated on the interpretation of basic single sentence instructions. Here, we especially examined the effects of the specificity of verbs, object names, and prepositions in interaction with factors of the visual object context regarding an adequate reference resolution. We were able to show that linguistic semantic and syntactic factors as well as visual context information context influence the interpretation of instructions. Especially the context information proves to be very important. Above and beyond the relevance for basic research, these results are also important for the design of human-computer interfaces capable of understanding natural language. Thus, following the experimental-simulative approach, we also pursued the processing of instructions from the perspective of computer science. Here, a natural language processing interface created for a virtual reality environment served as basis for the simulation of the empirical findings. The comparison of human vs. virtual system performance using a local performance measure for instruction understanding based on fuzzy constraint satisfaction led to further insights concerning the complexity of instruction processing in humans and artificial systems. Using selected examples, we were able to show that the visual context has a comparable influence on the performance of both systems, whereas this approach is limited when it comes to explaining some effects due to variations of the linguistic structure. In order to get deeper insights into the timing and interaction of the sub-processes relevant for instruction understanding and to model these effects in the computer simulation, more specific data on human performance are necessary, e.g. by using eye-tracking techniques. In the long run, such an approach will result in the development of a more natural and cognitively adequate human-computer interface.
Multimodal Communication
Situated Communication
Page URI


Weiß P, Pfeiffer T, Eikmeyer H-J, Rickheit G. Processing Instructions. In: Rickheit G, Wachsmuth I, eds. Situated Communication. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter; 2006: 31-76.
Weiß, P., Pfeiffer, T., Eikmeyer, H. - J., & Rickheit, G. (2006). Processing Instructions. In G. Rickheit & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.), Situated Communication (pp. 31-76). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Weiß, P., Pfeiffer, T., Eikmeyer, H. - J., and Rickheit, G. (2006). “Processing Instructions” in Situated Communication, Rickheit, G., and Wachsmuth, I. eds. (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter), 31-76.
Weiß, P., et al., 2006. Processing Instructions. In G. Rickheit & I. Wachsmuth, eds. Situated Communication. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 31-76.
P. Weiß, et al., “Processing Instructions”, Situated Communication, G. Rickheit and I. Wachsmuth, eds., Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2006, pp.31-76.
Weiß, P., Pfeiffer, T., Eikmeyer, H.-J., Rickheit, G.: Processing Instructions. In: Rickheit, G. and Wachsmuth, I. (eds.) Situated Communication. p. 31-76. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin (2006).
Weiß, Petra, Pfeiffer, Thies, Eikmeyer, Hans-Jürgen, and Rickheit, Gert. “Processing Instructions”. Situated Communication. Ed. Gert Rickheit and Ipke Wachsmuth. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2006. 31-76.


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