Mechanisms of alignment: Shared control, social cognition and metacognition

Greta Gandolfi, Martin J. Pickering, Simon Garrod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In dialogue, speakers process a great deal of information, take and give the floor to each other, and plan and adjust their contributions on the fly. Despite the level of coordination and control that it requires, dialogue is the easiest way speakers possess to come to similar conceptualisations of the world. In this paper, we show how speakers align with each other by mutually controlling the flow of the dialogue and constantly monitoring their own and their interlocutors' way of representing information. Through examples of conversation, we introduce the notions of shared control, meta-representations of alignment, and commentaries on alignment, and show how they support mutual understanding and the collaborative creation of abstract concepts. Indeed, whereas speakers can share similar representations of concrete concepts just by mutually attending to a tangible referent or by recalling it, they are likely to need more negotiation and mutual monitoring to build similar representations of abstract concepts.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20210362
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1870
Early online date26 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • dialogue
  • alignment
  • abstract concepts
  • shared control
  • metacognition
  • social cognition


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