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Communication in Action Notes PSY274

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Craig Chambers

Unit II – Communication in Action Conversational Behavior When one person speaks, the other listens. How do we know when it’s our turn? 1. Reactive accounts in turn taking - Speaker gives listener signals that his part is ending. - Listener reacts by responding to these cues and taking over. These signals are: a) Drop in pitch b) Drop in loudness c) Lengthened syllable at turn-final utterance d) Using hand gestures e) Completion of a well-formed sentence f) Using stereotypic sentences like ‘you know’ or ‘something’ Do listeners take these cues? When all 6 are produced, 50 % take these cues and start their turn. 2. Projective accounts of turn taking - Listener and speaker recognize goals of the conversation - Turn taking happens when listener has to contribute something to make the conversation go towards its goals - This is based on meaning, intention and utterance, not on sounds or gestures. Evidence: Listener takes over 200 ms after speaker is done. Listener anticipates end of speakers turn. He uses back chanelling (providing signals like ‘umm’ or ‘yeah’ or ‘I see’) to show the progression of the conversation Typical conversation shows a sequence of different conversational goals like invitation, narrative, acquiring information and maintaining social ties. Speaker can inform the listener where the conversation is going. 1. I wanted to tell you something 2. Did you know what happened on Sunday night? How to keep the floor? How to avoid giving your turn to the other person? Attempt-suppressing goals 1. Speed up 2. Increase volume 3. If trying to recall a name or something, use hand gestures or look away from the listener Choosing sentence structure Two competing forces underlie communication 1. Speakers economy (least effort principle) 2. Auditors economy (free of ambiguity) What governs the choices speakers
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