Joint Action, Interactive Alignment, and Dialog

Topics in Cognitive Science 1 (2):292-304 (2009)
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Abstract

Dialog is a joint action at different levels. At the highest level, the goal of interlocutors is to align their mental representations. This emerges from joint activity at lower levels, both concerned with linguistic decisions (e.g., choice of words) and nonlinguistic processes (e.g., alignment of posture or speech rate). Because of the high‐level goal, the interlocutors are particularly concerned with close coupling at these lower levels. As we illustrate with examples, this means that imitation and entrainment are particularly pronounced during interactive communication. We then argue that the mechanisms underlying such processes involve covert imitation of interlocutors’ communicative behavior, leading to emulation of their expected behavior. In other words, communication provides a very good example of predictive emulation, in a way that leads to successful joint activity.

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References found in this work

Meaning.Herbert Paul Grice - 1957 - Philosophical Review 66 (3):377-388.
Toward a mechanistic psychology of dialogue.Martin J. Pickering & Simon Garrod - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (2):169-190.
Forms of Talk.Erving Goffman - 1981 - Human Studies 5 (2):147-157.

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