Do Humans Converge Phonetically When Talking to a Robot?

Offrede, T., Mishra, C., Skantze, G., Fuchs, S., & Mooshammer, C. (2023). Do Humans Converge Phonetically When Talking to a Robot? In R. Skarnitzl, & J. Volin (Eds.), Proceedings of the 20th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (pp. 3507-3511). Prague: GUARANT International.
Phonetic convergence—i.e., adapting one’s speech
towards that of an interlocutor—has been shown
to occur in human-human conversations as well as
human-machine interactions. Here, we investigate
the hypothesis that human-to-robot convergence is
influenced by the human’s perception of the robot
and by the conversation’s topic. We conducted a
within-subjects experiment in which 33 participants
interacted with two robots differing in their eye gaze
behavior—one looked constantly at the participant;
the other produced gaze aversions, similarly to a
human’s behavior. Additionally, the robot asked
questions with increasing intimacy levels.
We observed that the speakers tended to converge
on F0 to the robots. However, this convergence
to the robots was not modulated by how the
speakers perceived them or by the topic’s intimacy.
Interestingly, speakers produced lower F0 means
when talking about more intimate topics. We
discuss these findings in terms of current theories of
conversational convergence.
Publication type
Proceedings paper
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