Conversation with and through computers

  • Susan E. Brennan


People design what they say specifically for their conversational partners, and they adapt to their partners over the course of a conversation. A comparison of keyboard conversations involving a simulated computer partner (as in a natural language interface) with those involving a human partner (as in teleconferencing) yielded striking differences and some equally striking similarities. For instance, there were significantly fewer acknowledgments in human/computer dialogue than in human/human. However, regardless of the conversational partner, people expected connectedness across conversational turns. In addition, the style of a partner's response shaped what people subsequently typed. These results suggest some issues that need to be addressed before a natural language computer interface will be able to hold up its end of a conversation.

Key words

discourse modeling human/computer interaction natural language interfaces recipient design 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan E. Brennan
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of PsychologyState University of New YorkStony BrookUSA

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