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Project Citation: 

Borrie, Stephanie A., Barrett, Tyson S., Willi, Megan, and Berisha, Visar. Syncing up for a good conversation: Objective acoustic-prosodic measures and expert clinical assessment of conversational entrainment. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2018-05-18.

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Project Description

Summary:  View help for Summary Purpose: Conversational entrainment, the phenomenon whereby communication partners align their behavior with one another, is considered essential for productive and fulfilling conversation. Lack of entrainment could, therefore, impact conversational success. While studied in many disciplines, entrainment has received limited attention in the field of speech-language pathology, where its implications may have direct clinical relevance. Here, we couple objective measures of speech signal entrainment and expert clinical assessment to characterize conversational entrainment within a multidimensional, clinically-meaningful framework. Method: Using a novel computational approach to quantify acoustic-prosodic entrainment, and real-world evidence of conversational success, as judged by five speech-language pathologists, we investigated conversational entrainment across multiple speech dimensions in a corpus of 57 experimentally-elicited conversations involving healthy subjects. Results: Expert clinical assessment of conversation is supported by objective measures of entrainment in rhythmic, articulatory and phonatory dimensions of speech. Approach validation is achieved by comparing output measures from real versus sham conversations; and prediction accuracy of entrained versus non-entrained measure models. Conclusions: A methodology for capturing conversational entrainment, validated in healthy populations, has important translational application for disciplines such as speech-language pathology where conversational entrainment represents a critical knowledge gap in the field, as well as a potential target for remediation.
Funding Sources:  View help for Funding Sources United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (R21DC016084)

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