Early preparation during turn-taking: Listeners use content predictions to determine what to say but not when to say it
Corps, R. E., Crossley, A., Gambi, C., & Pickering, M. J.
Early preparation during turn-taking: Listeners use content predictions to determine what to say but not when to say it. Cognition, 175
, 77-95. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2018.01.015.
During conversation, there is often little gap between interlocutors’ utterances. In two pairs of experiments, we manipulated the content predictability of yes/no questions to investigate whether listeners achieve such coordination by (i) preparing a response as early as possible or (ii) predicting the end of the speaker’s turn. To assess these two mechanisms, we varied the participants’ task: They either pressed a button when they thought the question was about to end (Experiments 1a and 2a), or verbally answered the questions with either yes or no (Experiments 1b and 2b). Predictability effects were present when participants had to prepare a verbal response, but not when they had to predict the turn-end. These findings suggest content prediction facilitates turn-taking because it allows listeners to prepare their own response early, rather than because it helps them predict when the speaker will reach the end of their turn.