Joint Action in Dialogue: Speed of Passive and Active Utterance Onset between Strangers and Flatmates.
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Dialogue is negotiated with remarkable ease when the complex processes involved are considered. Examples include the constant switching of task between the production and comprehension of language and also the coordination of conversational turn-taking. It is thought that the fluidity and coordination of these processes are enabled by an ability to align individual representations of language to form a joint account of dialogue which allows us to represent the utterances of others in the same way as our own. For this reason dialogue is considered the linguistic form of joint action. Also, it has been suggested that dialogue makes use of the same underlying processes present in monologue, such as the delayed onset of initiating a passive sentence in comparison to an active one. In order to demonstrate this, a task of sentence completion between two participants was used. In the Joint condition, one member of the pair initiated the description of a simple picture and the other member completed it. In the No condition the second partner had no role. A delay of utterance onset was expected by participants when their partner had a role in the sentence due to this joint account of language. Sentence voice was manipulated by the use of pictures which resulted in both passive and active sentence. To investigate the effect of familiarity of speakers on level of conversational success, results were compared between pairs of strangers and pairs of flatmates. It was seen that the presence of the role of a partner is taken into account and affects self-generated utterances in the form of delayed utterance initiation. Manipulation of sentence voice and level of conversation experience was not significant.