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Speech production, dual-process theory, and the attentive addressee

Pollard, A.J.; (2012) Speech production, dual-process theory, and the attentive addressee. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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This thesis outlines a model of Speaker-Addressee interaction that suggests some answers to two linked problems current in speech production. The first concerns an under-researched issue in psycholinguistics: how are decisions about speech content – conceptualization – carried out? The second, a pragmatics problem, asks how Speakers, working under the heavy time pressures of normal dialogue, achieve optimal relevance often enough for successful communication to take place. Links between these problems are discussed in Chapter 1; Chapter 2 reviews existing research on speech production and dialogue. Chapter 3 presents the central claim of my thesis: that the Addressee exerts a significant influence over the Speaker’s decision-making at a level below the latter’s consciousness. Using evidence drawn from psycholinguistics, developmental psychology and human-computer interaction, Chapter 4 presents evidence to support this claim, demonstrating that a Speaker’s performance can be decisively affected at a preconscious level by the degree of attentiveness shown by the Addressee. Lack of attentiveness, in particular, appears to damage speech production at the conceptualization level. I suggest, therefore, that Speaker and Addressee are linked in a feedback loop: unless a Speaker achieves and maintains relevance to an Addressee, the Addressee’s interest will be lost, and this will impair the Speaker’s production abilities and hence the communication process itself. Chapters 5 and 6 consider some automatic mechanisms that may help Speakers dovetail their productions to Addressee need. These include the neural mechanisms underlying face perception and social rejection; automatic aspects of theory of mind; intuitive memory and inference systems of the type being explored in dual-process theory; and connections between verbal performance and behavioural priming currently being investigated. Chapter 7 summarizes the complete argument, discusses its wider implications, and includes suggestions for further work.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Speech production, dual-process theory, and the attentive addressee
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Psychology and Language Sciences (Division of) > Linguistics

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