14thAnnual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Lyon, France
August 25-29, 2013

Timing Responses to Questions in Dialogue

Sofia Strömbergsson, Anna Hjalmarsson, Jens Edlund, David House

KTH, Sweden

Questions and answers play an important role in spoken dialogue systems as well as in human-human interaction. A critical concern when responding to a question is the timing of the response. While human response times depend on a wide set of features, dialogue systems generally respond as soon as they can, that is, when the end of the question has been detected and the response is ready to be deployed. This paper presents an analysis of how different semantic and pragmatic features affect the response times to questions in two different data sets of spontaneous human-human dialogues: the Swedish Spontal Corpus and the US English Switchboard corpus. Our analysis shows that contextual features such as question type, response type, and conversation topic influence human response times. Based on these results, we propose that more sophisticated response timing can be achieved in spoken dialogue systems by using these features to automatically and deliberately target system response timing.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Strömbergsson, Sofia / Hjalmarsson, Anna / Edlund, Jens / House, David (2013): "Timing responses to questions in dialogue", In INTERSPEECH-2013, 2584-2588.