Abstract Professor Pat Healey 31 January 2013

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This talk will describe two chat tool experiments that involve relatively fine-grained manipulations of live conversations. The first 'downgrade' experiment involves selective weakening of grounding cues (e.g. "Okay" -> "Uhmm") during task-oriented dialogue. The results show that this interferes with semantic coordination and supports Clark's account of grounding in dialogue. The second experiment involves 'upgrading' people's questions (e.g. "On the left" -> "wot"?). Perhaps surprisingly, this leads to stronger semantic coordination. I will argue, using the active voice, that this shows that coordination of meaning in dialogue coordination is driven by negative evidence; communication is a special case of misunderstanding.

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