10th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Brighton, United Kingdom
September 6-10, 2009

Backchannel-Inviting Cues in Task-Oriented Dialogue

Agustín Gravano, Julia Hirschberg

Columbia University, USA

We examine backchannel-inviting cues — distinct prosodic, acoustic and lexical events in the speaker’s speech that tend to precede a short response produced by the interlocutor to convey continued attention — in the Columbia Games Corpus, a large corpus of task-oriented dialogues. We show that the likelihood of occurrence of a backchannel increases quadratically with the number of cues conjointly displayed by the speaker. Our results are important for improving the coordination of conversational turns in interactive voice-response systems, so that systems can produce backchannels in appropriate places, and so that they can elicit backchannels from users in expected places.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Gravano, Agustín / Hirschberg, Julia (2009): "Backchannel-inviting cues in task-oriented dialogue", In INTERSPEECH-2009, 1019-1022.