Syntactic alignment between computers and people: The role of belief about mental states

H P Branigan, M J Pickering, J Pearson, J F McLean, C I Nass

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

Abstract / Description of output

People tend to mirror the syntax used by their interlocutors in dialogue. Given that people treat computers as "social actors" in many ways, we might expect them to mirror computers' syntax as well. We report an experiment in which naive participants played a dialogue game in which they believed that they were interacting with either a person or a computer. In fact, in both cases their "interlocutor" was a computer program that produced pre-scripted utterances. Participants demonstrated a very strong tendency to repeat the syntactic form of their "interlocutor's" immediately preceding utterance in both conditions. It does not appear that beliefs about the mental states of one's interlocutor mediate between perception and production.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 25th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Pts 1 and 2
EditorsR Alterman, D Kirsh
Place of PublicationMahwah
PublisherLawrence Erlbaum Associates
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)0-8058-4991-2
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)



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