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CLS Talks: Stefan Frank (Seminar)

Thursday 20 October 2022Add to my calendar
16:00 to
Stefan Frank
Communicative efficiency in multimodal language

Communicative efficiency in multimodal language

The ecology of communication is face-to-face. In these contexts, speakers dynamically modify their communication across vocal (e.g., speaking rate) and gestural (e.g., co-speech gestures related in meaning to the content of speech) channels while speaking. What is the function of these adjustments? Here we test the hypothesis that speakers produce these multimodal adjustments to the service of communicative efficiency, to reduce cognitive effort and maximise likelihood of successful communication. We assess whether speakers modulate word durations and produce gestures depending on the predictability (surprisal) of the words. We found that surprisal predicted speakers’ multimodal adjustments in a new corpus of naturalistic interactions between adult and child (aged 3-4), and between two adults. The effects were modulated by whether the comprehender was a child or an adult. Thus, communicative efficiency applies generally to multimodal language use not being limited to structural properties of language or vocal modality.

CLS Talks

CLS Talks (which replace the previous CLS lectures and CLS seminars) take place once a month on Thursdays at 16:00. These colloquia will showcase research done within the CLS, with the aim to increase awareness of the ongoing research in the CLS, and to facilitate discussions and collaborations between researchers. In addition, we have invited a number of external speakers to share their work with us. If you cannot make it in-person you are welcome to join us via Zoom. By registering via the button below, you will receive the link.