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Processes of incremental message planning during conversation

Brown-Schmidt, S., & Konopka, A. E. (2015). Processes of incremental message planning during conversation. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 22, 833-843. doi:10.3758/s13423-014-0714-2.
Speaking begins with the formulation of an intended preverbal message and linguistic encoding of this information. The transition from thought to speech occurs incrementally, with cascading planning at subsequent levels of production. In this article, we aim to specify the mechanisms that support incremental message preparation. We contrast two hypotheses about the mechanisms responsible for incorporating message-level information into a linguistic plan. According to the Initial Preparation view, messages can be encoded as fluent utterances if all information is ready before speaking begins. By contrast, on the Continuous Incrementality view, messages can be continually prepared and updated throughout the production process, allowing for fluent production even if new information is added to the message while speaking is underway. Testing these hypotheses, eye-tracked speakers in two experiments produced unscripted, conjoined noun phrases with modifiers. Both experiments showed that new message elements can be incrementally incorporated into the utterance even after articulation begins, consistent with a Continuous Incrementality view of message planning, in which messages percolate to linguistic encoding immediately as that information becomes available in the mind of the speaker. We conclude by discussing the functional role of incremental message planning in conversational speech and the situations in which this continuous incremental planning would be most likely to be observed
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The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

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