Investigating conversational dynamics: Interactive alignment, Interpersonal synergy, and collective task performance

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This study investigates interpersonal processes underlying dialog by comparing two approaches, interactive alignment and interpersonal synergy, and assesses how they predict collective performance in a joint task. While the interactive alignment approach highlights imitative patterns between interlocutors, the synergy approach points to structural organization at the level of the interaction - such as complementary patterns straddling speech-turns and interlocutors. We develop a general, quantitative method to assess lexical, prosodic and speech/pause patterns related to the two approaches and their impact on collective performance in a corpus of task-oriented conversations. The results show statistical presence of patterns relevant for both approaches. However, synergetic aspects of dialog provide the best statistical predictors of collective performance and adding aspects of the alignment approach does not improve the model. This suggests that structural organization at the level of the interaction plays a crucial role in task-oriented conversations, possibly constraining and integrating processes related to alignment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCognitive Science
Volume40 (jan)
Pages (from-to)145-171
Number of pages27
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

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