The effect of conversational task on turn taking in dialogue
In previous studies, several methods have been used to elicit conversation between talkers. Some involved participants solving a shared task (e.g., describing a map or finding differences between two near-identical pictures), while others have recorded more spontaneous dialogue (e.g., telephone calls). Since the goals of the talkers, and thus the definition of successful conversation, varies across these methods, it is thought likely that turn-taking behaviour will vary depending on how conversations are elicited. The present study investigated this by eliciting English conversations from 7 pairs of native-Danish talkers using two methods: solving a Diapix task and engaging in unguided “small talk”. For each method, in both quiet and 70 dBA babble, two conversations were recorded for each pair. Overall, several differences in conversational behaviour were observed. When engaged in “small talk”, participants spoke more rapidly, produced longer utterances, and replied more quickly than compared to when they were solving the Diapix task. These within-pair differences indicate that comparisons of behaviour across studies should also consider the method by which conversations were elicited.
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