CAT LECTURE by DR ALEXIA GALATI (University of Cyprus):

Dialogue Is Collaborative: How Our Conversational Partners Influence How We Think and Speak

The usual CAT rule applies for this event: Everyone is welcome!


Thursday, 14 April 2011: 18.00–19.30.


At the University of Cyprus Main Campus in Nicosia (i.e. the "old" campus on Kallipoleos): room E 009.


Dr Alexia Galati is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Experimental Psychology Lab at UCY's Department of Psychology.


In this talk I address how our conversational partners’ informational needs influence our private mental states as well as overt aspects of our behavior, including utterance planning, articulating, and gesturing. In three studies involving different experimental paradigms (storytelling, referential communication, and spatial perspective-taking), the speakers’ informational needs or perspective were distinguishable from those of their conversational partners in order to examine whether speakers’ adjustments in behavior were egocentric or truly “for” the partner. Together these studies show that speakers represent characteristics of their partner (e.g., what their partner has heard before, how they have shared information with their partner, and what their partner’s vantage point is) and use this information flexibly to adjust their behavior. These findings inform the cognitive architecture that supports language processing, as well as models of dialogue. Language processing appears to incorporate partner-specific information in a non-modular, probabilistic fashion since partner-specific adjustments extend from more inferential processes, like utterance planning, to more automatic ones, like articulation. This work supports a collaborative view of dialogue, in which there is no “default” context for processing, but rather interlocutors mentalize about what their partners know, intend their communicative signals to be recognized as such, and coordinate their behavior.