Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Experimental Psychology

Committee Chair

Roger J Kreuz

Committee Member

George Relyea

Committee Member

Jeff Berman


Researchers have been interested in the dynamics of human conversation for several decades. One major focus of this line of research has been the mechanisms by which humans coordinate in conversation. To study the coordination of conversation within dyads often requires an understanding of statistical methods, which handle time series data. Traditionally, there are no definitive standards for defining one of the important parameters in time series analysis, window size. Therefore, the purpose of the current project was to elucidate the mechanisms through which conversational coordination emerges by utilizing conversational turn-taking as the basis for choosing the appropriate window size in the time series analysis. Data from previously collected videotaped conversational interactions were analyzed for the presence of movement coordination using an image-differencing algorithm in MATLAB. Additionally, speech signals time-locked to the video segments were examined for vocal synchrony in pitch using Praat. The participants from the original study were asked to engage in three tasks designed to elicit sarcasm. Only data from one of these tasks, discussing an ironic scenario, were analyzed for the current project. There were eleven dyads each contributing one conversation and each lasting between 2 and 8 minutes. It was thought that both movement and pitch were possible coordination mechanisms, but that coordination patterns would only be uncovered by using time series windows adjusted for turn-taking rates in each dyad. Results from windowed cross-correlations revealed that participants significantly coordinated movement. Post-hoc tests revealed an effect of window size on mean correlations. Although not significant, results from the analysis of vocal coordination revealed a pattern of results similar to those from the movement coordination study. This could be due to a lack of statistical power. Interestingly, patterns of movement coordination were found strictly as a function of a vocal parameter: turn-taking. These results suggest a novel approach to the study of conversational coordination and a more crucial role for turn-taking in the emergence of coordinative structures.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.