Word-by-word entrainment of speech rhythm during joint story building

Tommi Himberg, Lotta Hirvenkari, Anne Mandel, Riitta Hari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
142 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Movements and behavior synchronize during social interaction at many levels, often unintentionally. During smooth conversation, for example, participants adapt to each others' speech rates. Here we aimed to find out to which extent speakers adapt their turn-taking rhythms during a story-building game. Nine sex-matched dyads of adults (12 males, 6 females) created two 5-min stories by contributing to them alternatingly one word at a time. The participants were located in different rooms, with audio connection during one story and audiovisual during the other. They were free to select the topic of the story. Although the participants received no instructions regarding the timing of the story building, their word rhythms were highly entrained (øverlineR = 0.70, p < 0.001) even though the rhythms as such were unstable (øverlineR = 0.14 for pooled data). Such high entrainment in the absence of steady word rhythm occurred in every individual story, independently of whether the subjects were connected via audio-only or audiovisual link. The observed entrainment was of similar strength as typical entrainment in finger-tapping tasks where participants are specifically instructed to synchronize their behavior. Thus, speech seems to spontaneously induce strong entrainment between the conversation partners, likely reflecting automatic alignment of their semantic and syntactic processes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number797
Pages (from-to)1-6
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • turn-taking
  • entrainment
  • word rhythm
  • mutual adaptation
  • speech
  • social interaction

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Word-by-word entrainment of speech rhythm during joint story building'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this