Measures and mechanisms of common ground: backchannels, conversational repair, and interactive alignmentin free and task-oriented social interactions

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A crucial aspect of everyday conversational interactions is our ability to establish and maintain common ground. Understanding the relevant mechanisms involved in such social coordination remains an important challenge for cognitive science. While common ground is often discussed in very general terms, different contexts of interaction are likely to afford different coordination mechanisms. In this paper, we investigate the presence and relation of three mechanisms of social coordination–backchannels, interactive alignment and conversational repair –across free and task-oriented conversations.We find significant differences: task-oriented conversations involve higher presence of repair–restricted offers in particular –and backchannel, as well as a reduced level of lexical and syntactic alignment. We find that restricted repair is associated with lexical alignment and open repair with backchannels. Our findings highlight the need to explicitly assess several mechanisms at once and to investigate diverse social activities to understand their role and relations.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year2017
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventCogSci 2017 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 26 Jul 201729 Jul 2017


ConferenceCogSci 2017
CountryUnited Kingdom

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