Do Conversational Partners Entrain on Articulatory Precision?

Nichola Lubold, Stephanie A. Borrie, Tyson S. Barrett, Megan Willi, Visar Berisha


The communication phenomenon known as conversational entrainment occurs when dialogue partners align or adapt their behavior to one another while conversing. Associated with rapport, trust, and communicative efficiency, entrainment appears to facilitate conversational success. In this work, we explore how conversational partners entrain or align on articulatory precision or the clarity with which speakers articulate their spoken productions. Articulatory precision also has implications for conversational success as precise articulation can enhance speech understanding and intelligibility. However, in conversational speech, speakers tend to reduce their articulatory precision, preferring low-cost, imprecise speech. Speakers may adapt their articulation and become more precise depending on feedback from their listeners. Given the potential of entrainment, we are interested in how conversational partners adapt or entrain their articulatory precision to one another. We explore this phenomenon in 57 task-based dialogues. Controlling for the influence of speaking rate, we find that speakers entrain on articulatory precision, with significant alignment on articulation of consonants. We discuss the potential applications that speaker alignment on precision might have for modeling conversation and implementing strategies for enhancing communicative success in human-human and human-computer interactions.


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2019-1786

Cite as: Lubold, N., Borrie, S.A., Barrett, T.S., Willi, M., Berisha, V. (2019) Do Conversational Partners Entrain on Articulatory Precision?. Proc. Interspeech 2019, 1931-1935, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2019-1786.


@inproceedings{Lubold2019,
  author={Nichola Lubold and Stephanie A. Borrie and Tyson S. Barrett and Megan Willi and Visar Berisha},
  title={{Do Conversational Partners Entrain on Articulatory Precision?}},
  year=2019,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2019},
  pages={1931--1935},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2019-1786},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2019-1786}
}