Investigating perception of spoken dialogue acceptability through surprisal

Sarenne Wallbridge, Peter Bell, Catherine Lai

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

Surprisal is used throughout computational psycholinguistics to model a range of language processing behaviour. There is growing evidence that language model (LM) estimates of surprisal correlate with human performance on a range of written language comprehension tasks. Although communicative interaction is arguably the primary form of language use, most studies of surprisal are based on monological, written data. Towards the goal of understanding perception in spontaneous, natural language, we present an exploratory investigation into whether the relationship between human comprehension behaviour and LM-estimated surprisal holds when applied to dialogue, considering both written dialogue, and the lexical component of spoken dialogue. We use a novel judgement task of dialogue utterance acceptability to ask two questions: “How well can people make predictions about written dialogue and transcripts of spoken dialogue?” and “Does surprisal correlate with these acceptability judgements?”. We demonstrate that people can make accurate predictions about upcoming dialogue and that their ability differs between spoken transcripts and written conversation. We investigate the relationship between global and local operationalisations of surprisal and human acceptability judgements, finding a combination of both to provide the most predictive power
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Interspeech 2022
EditorsHanseok Ko, John H. L. Hansen
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sept 2022
EventInterspeech 2022 - Incheon, Korea, Democratic People's Republic of
Duration: 18 Sept 202222 Sept 2022
Conference number: 23


ConferenceInterspeech 2022
Country/TerritoryKorea, Democratic People's Republic of
Internet address

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • psycholinguistics
  • spoken dialogue
  • speech perception
  • discourse structure


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