Timing in conversation is dynamically adjusted turn by turn in dyadic telephone conversations
Pouw, W., & Holler, J.
Timing in conversation is dynamically adjusted turn by turn in dyadic telephone conversations. Cognition, 222
: 105015. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2022.105015.
Conversational turn taking in humans involves incredibly rapid responding. The timing mechanisms underpinning such responses have been heavily debated, including questions such as who is doing the timing. Similar to findings on rhythmic tapping to a metronome, we show that floor transfer offsets (FTOs) in telephone conversations are serially dependent, such that FTOs are lag-1 negatively autocorrelated. Finding this serial dependence on a turn-by-turn basis (lag-1) rather than on the basis of two or more turns, suggests a counter-adjustment mechanism operating at the level of the dyad in FTOs during telephone conversations, rather than a more individualistic self-adjustment within speakers. This finding, if replicated, has major implications for models describing turn taking, and confirms the joint, dyadic nature of human conversational dynamics. Future research is needed to see how pervasive serial dependencies in FTOs are, such as for example in richer communicative face-to-face contexts where visual signals affect conversational timing.