Motivation and Alignment - The effect of primed helpfulness and its interaction with lexical alignment
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Two experiments examined the role of a person’s motivation in lexical alignment in dialogue. To accomplish this, participants were first primed with either helpful or unhelpful social goals using a word search containing words related to either schema. Participants were then told that they were performing a word and picture matching task with another participant. The task was actually a computer program with experimental items which introduced a disfavoured term for a pictured object and then collected the participant’s response on their following name term. If the participant’s name for the object was the same as the disfavoured word primed by the “other participant”, it was classified as aligned. All other responses were classified as non-aligned. The second experiment increased the interval to eight placeholder items between the introduction of the disfavoured word and the target response, in order to investigate the effect of time on alignment and motivation effects. Loglinear analysis revealed no significant results for interactions between motivation and alignment or any lag effect. Further exploration of the individual experimental items also revealed no significant results. However, this study concludes that a lack of effect of motivation on alignment may not be the only account for these non-significant results. Two experimental design issues are raised and discussed, with recommendations for improvements for future research.