ERIC Number: EJ776445
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Speakers' Eye Gaze Disambiguates Referring Expressions Early during Face-to-Face Conversation
Hanna, Joy E.; Brennan, Susan E.
Journal of Memory and Language, v57 n4 p596-615 Nov 2007
In two experiments, we explored the time course and flexibility with which speakers' eye gaze can be used to disambiguate referring expressions in spontaneous dialog. Naive director/matcher pairs were separated by a barrier and saw each other's faces but not their displays. Displays held identical objects, with the matcher's arranged in a row and the director's mirroring the matcher's or else in a circle (Experiment 1) or in a reversed row (Experiment 2). Directors instructed matchers to move targets, which were unique or had a competitor nearby or far away. When mirrored displays held far competitors, matchers used directors' eye gaze to identify targets before the linguistic point of disambiguation. Reversed displays caused substantial competition, yet matchers still identified targets before the linguistic point of disambiguation, showing an ability to rapidly re-map directors' eye gaze. Our findings indicate eye gaze is a powerful and flexible disambiguating cue in referential communication.
Descriptors: Cognitive Processes, Task Analysis, Eye Movements, Interpersonal Communication, Cues, Nonverbal Communication, Language Processing
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A