Interruptions talk

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“Where Was I?” A Psycholinguistic Investigation of Interruptions to Language Production : 

“Where Was I?” A Psycholinguistic Investigation of Interruptions to Language Production Benjamin Swets—Stony Brook University Fernanda Ferreira—University of Edinburgh Erik Altmann—Michigan State University

Slide2: 

File papers Time

Slide3: 

File papers Answer phone Time Interruption

Slide4: 

File papers Answer phone Hang up Time Interruption

Slide5: 

File papers Answer phone Hang up Resume filing Time Interruption ?

Slide6: 

File papers Answer phone Hang up Resume filing Time Interruption 25 minutes “Meet the Life Hackers” New York Times Clive Thompson 10/16/06

Conversational Interruptions: 

Conversational Interruptions Intuitively disruptive Bad manners Example dialog: Speaker 1 narrates scene from Lord of the Rings to Speaker 2

Conversational Interruptions: 

Conversational Interruptions 1: One of the hobbits’ names is Merry and he tells him to climb up the tree and they start climbing up the tree and they think that they’ve lost him again and he grabs the other one’s leg and pulls him down— 2: Do you hear that in the hallway? 1: No— 2: That buzzing noise? 1: No. 2: Sorry, that’s just annoying. 1: (Laughter) 2: Okay, go ahead. 1: Um…so…okay now I’ve…lost what I was—what was going on— 2: I’m sorry. 1: That’s o—no, that’s okay. Um…okay, so the monster is…pulls the one off of a tree, and…

Overview: 

Overview When are conversational interruptions disruptive to speakers? How can this knowledge be used?

When Do Interruptions Disrupt?: 

When Do Interruptions Disrupt?

Slide11: 

Begin Primary Task Begin Secondary Task End Secondary Task Resume Primary Task Interruption Time

Slide12: 

File papers Answer phone Hang up Resume filing Time Interruption

Slide13: 

Begin Primary Task Begin Secondary Task End Secondary Task Resume Primary Task Interruption Time Resumption Lag

When Do Interruptions Disrupt?: 

When Do Interruptions Disrupt? When there is no option to rehearse one’s location in the primary task before interruption begins (Altmann & Trafton, 2002) Suggests that goal memory is vital for resumption When interruptions come at fine break points rather than coarse break points (Adamczyk & Bailey, 2004). Movie titling task

When Do Interruptions Disrupt?: 

When Do Interruptions Disrupt? When there is no option to rehearse one’s location in the primary task before interruption begins (Altmann & Trafton, 2002) Suggests that goal memory is vital for resumption When interruptions come at fine break points rather than coarse break points (Adamczyk & Bailey, 2004) Movie titling task

Psycholinguistic Issues: 

Psycholinguistic Issues Levelt (1989): Bookkeeping How do we keep track of where we are in a discourse? Goal memory of language production Recent theories of dialog (Pickering & Garrod, 2004) Predictions can be generated about how interruptions will be handled in dialog Interruptions with different goals should be disruptive

Definitions: Present Study: 

Definitions: Present Study Interruption A temporary event that causes a speaker to cease speech, and which allows speech to resume afterward. Disruption Operationalized by several variables measuring resumption difficulty: Resumption lag Resumption errors Disfluencies

Overview of Studies: 

Overview of Studies Study 1: Dialog What disrupts bookkeeping in natural conversation? Study 2: Sentence production What disrupts bookkeeping when producing single sentences in controlled settings?

Study 1: 

Study 1 Research question Does the goal of an interruption influence whether it is disruptive?

Method : 

Method Participant would… Be introduced to confederate “participant” Watch 2 film clips in a row (about 3 minutes each) Describe film clips to confederate for a memory test (cover story)

Method (cont): 

Method (cont) Confederate would… Interrupt 4 times per description (8 times total) Interrupt at predictable points in each description… with 4 different types of interruptions (2 aligning, 2 non-aligning)

Aligning Interruption Types: 

Aligning Interruption Types Repetition interruptions Summarize last few points to make sure she understood Example: “Ok, wait, I’m sorry, let me make sure I got this right first: so a guy walks into a room…” Clarification interruptions Confederate asks speaker to clarify unmentioned detail Example: “Wait, sorry—so what kind of basket was it? Was it like a flower basket or a, like, bigger basket?”

Non-Aligning Interruption Types: 

Non-Aligning Interruption Types Digressions Use just-mentioned point to introduce to unhelpful topic Example: “Is this a horror movie? I hate horror movies—they’re so cheesy.” True interruptions Unrelated and unhelpful topic Example: “I’m sorry—do you hear that noise in the hallway? It’s really annoying.”

Non-Aligning Interruption Types: 

Non-Aligning Interruption Types Digressions Use just-mentioned point to introduce to unhelpful topic Example: “Is this a horror movie? I hate horror movies—they’re so cheesy.” True interruptions Unrelated and unhelpful topic Example: “I’m sorry—do you hear that noise in the hallway? It’s really annoying.”

Dependent Measures : 

Dependent Measures Resumption lag (RL1 and RL2)

Slide26: 

Describe scene “Do you hear that?” “Sorry, go on.” 1st content word RL1 Interruption Time

Slide27: 

Describe scene “Do you hear that?” “Sorry, go on.” Interruption Time 1st continuing word RL2

Dependent Measures: 

Dependent Measures 1: One of the hobbits’ names is Merry and he tells him to climb up the tree and they start climbing up the tree and they think that they’ve lost him again and he grabs the other one’s leg and pulls him down— 2: Do you hear that in the hallway? 1: No— 2: That buzzing noise? 1: No. 2: Sorry, that’s just annoying. 1: (Laughter) 2: Okay, go ahead. 1: Um…so…okay now I’ve…lost what I was—what was going on— 2: I’m sorry. 1: That’s o—no, that’s okay. Um…okay, so the monster is…pulls the one off of a tree, and… Resumption Lag 1

Dependent Measures: 

Dependent Measures 1: One of the hobbits’ names is Merry and he tells him to climb up the tree and they start climbing up the tree and they think that they’ve lost him again and he grabs the other one’s leg and pulls him down— 2: Do you hear that in the hallway? 1: No— 2: That buzzing noise? 1: No. 2: Sorry, that’s just annoying. 1: (Laughter) 2: Okay, go ahead. 1: Um…so…okay now I’ve…lost what I was—what was going on— 2: I’m sorry. 1: That’s o—no, that’s okay. Um…okay, so the monster is…pulls the one off of a tree, and… Resumption Lag 2

Dependent Measures: 

Dependent Measures 1: One of the hobbits’ names is Merry and he tells him to climb up the tree and they start climbing up the tree and they think that they’ve lost him again and he grabs the other one’s leg and pulls him down— 2: Do you hear that in the hallway? 1: No— 2: That buzzing noise? 1: No. 2: Sorry, that’s just annoying. 1: (Laughter) 2: Okay, go ahead. 1: Um…so…okay now I’ve…lost what I was—what was going on— 2: I’m sorry. 1: That’s o—no, that’s okay. Um…okay, so the monster is…pulls the one off of a tree, and… Repeated Words

Dependent Measures: 

Dependent Measures 1: One of the hobbits’ names is Merry and he tells him to climb up the tree and they start climbing up the tree and they think that they’ve lost him again and he grabs the other one’s leg and pulls him down— 2: Do you hear that in the hallway? 1: No— 2: That buzzing noise? 1: No. 2: Sorry, that’s just annoying. 1: (Laughter) 2: Okay, go ahead. 1: Um…so…okay now I’ve…lost what I was—what was going on— 2: I’m sorry. 1: That’s o—no, that’s okay. Um…okay, so the monster is…pulls the one off of a tree, and… Disfluencies

Prediction: 

Prediction Aligning types less disruptive than non-aligning types Alignment in dialog (Pickering & Garrod, 2004) Bookkeeping as goal memory (Altmann & Trafton, 2002; Grosz & Sidner, 1986; Levelt, 1989)

Slide33: 

Graph “something like this”

Summary of Results: Study 1 : 

Summary of Results: Study 1 More disruptive types: clarifications (aligning) true interruptions (non-aligning) Less disruptive types: repetition interruptions (aligning) digressions (non-aligning)

Implications: 

Implications Goal alignment is not the only factor driving disruption to bookkeeping Other factors: Interference: need to respond verbally (clarifications) Shallow processing (digressions)

Study 2: 

Study 2 More traditional psycholinguistic approach What disrupts sentence-level bookkeeping? At what point in sentence production is it most costly to be interrupted?

Study 2: Paradigm: 

Study 2: Paradigm Participant described arrays of objects Two-clause target sentences “The ear moves | above the book | and the shoe moves | below the book.”

Slide42: 

Study 2: Paradigm Subject began describing array

Slide43: 

Study 2: Paradigm Experimenter pressed a button to initiate interruption

Slide44: 

Study 2: Paradigm Speaker: stop speaking, perform task

Interruption Tasks: 

Interruption Tasks Grammaticality judgment Is the sentence grammatical? Example: “The whole team lost the coach’s money himself.” Arithmetic Is the problem solved correctly? Example: 23 + 35 = 58 Time limit: 3.25 seconds

Slide46: 

Study 2: Paradigm After 3.25 seconds, subject would hear another BEEP.

Slide47: 

Study 2: Paradigm Speakers instructed to resume from exactly where they left off

Manipulations: 

Manipulations Interruption type Location of interruption 1st clause, between clauses, 2nd clause The ear moves | above the book | and the shoe moves | below the book

Slide49: 

“The ear moves…” Interrupt BEEP Resumption BEEP “…above the book…” Resumption Lag Interruption Task Time Study 2: Measures RL: Latency to first vocal response after interruption

Slide50: 

“The ear moves…” Interrupt BEEP Resumption BEEP “…above the book…” Resumption Lag Interruption Task Time Study 2: Measures Resumption errors

Slide51: 

“The ear moves…” Interrupt BEEP Resumption BEEP “…moves above…” Resumption Lag Interruption Task Time Study 2: Measures Repeated words

Slide52: 

“The ear moves…” Interrupt BEEP Resumption BEEP “…and the shoe moves …” Resumption Lag Interruption Task Time Study 2: Measures Skipped words

Hypotheses and Predictions: 

Hypotheses and Predictions Locality predictions: Temporal bookkeeping: Early vs. late interruptions Size of planning load: Early more disruptive than late Structural bookkeeping: Between- vs. within-clause Coarse vs. fine break points

Study 2: Summary of Results: 

Study 2: Summary of Results Influence of locus on recovery: Early interruptions resulted in longer resumption lags. Between-clause interruptions resulted in fewer resumption errors.

Implications: 

Implications Two kinds of disruption Resumption lag increases due to reloading larger plans Speakers are planning a clause in advance Resumption errors measure disrupted bookkeeping Unit of bookkeeping is the clause

How to Interrupt: 

How to Interrupt In socially responsible ways: Make shallow and pointless interruptions Interrupt late in a sentence, or between clauses

How to Interrupt: 

How to Interrupt In socially irresponsible ways: Interrupt at cross purposes Make interlocutor address interruption in detail Interrupt early, before clause boundary

Thank you: 

Thank you

Future Directions: 

Future Directions Reduced interference from non-verbal interruptions? Gestures as interruption warnings—helpful to speakers at resumption? Prosody of resumptions (Very robust!) Focus on global measures—are interruptions sometimes helpful? Untangling goal structure Priming investigations

What is bookkeeping?: 

What is bookkeeping? What is the nature of the bookkeeping mechanism? Is it a domain-general memory mechanism? Or a domain-specific language production mechanism? Similarity hypothesis (Gillie & Broadbent, 1989) Verbal interruptions should be more disruptive than non-verbal interruptions Domain-specific verbal interference Preliminary analyses: Grammaticality judgments more disruptive than spatial judgments

Interruption lengths Study 1: 

Interruption lengths Study 1

Awareness: 

Awareness 29% fully unaware of purpose/unusual behavior of confederate 44% aware that other participant was behaving strangely/interrupting a lot 27% figured out the purpose of the experiment Awareness did not interact with interruption type

Practice effects: 

Practice effects Some evidence that practice reduced effects in Study 1 Missing data Better preparation? Practice reduced RL and errors in Study 2, but did not interact with IVs.