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Behavioural and Physiological Markers of Synchrony during Face-to-Face Interactions
Carol Boliek, Charene Welsh, Leila Homaeian, Kelvin Jones, Reza Sherkat

Conversational synchrony is a fundamental suprasegmental aspect of human social interaction and is thought to be an essential element of speech. A comprehensive, theoretically-driven, investigative approach is needed to explain complexities of conversational synchrony. We are interested in predicting the acquisition of conversational synchrony in infants with neurological impairments by using a phenomenological model as a main tool of investigation. Outputs are rhythmic oscillations of a conversational dyad that can be directly compared to the measured respiratory kinematics. With this system, we will be able to ask: (1) Can coupling be predicted from the respiratory, entrainment and turn-taking patterns between the two oscillators? and (2) What are the relative strengths of the two perceptual channels and are the channels symmetrically coupled? Twenty adults (10 men, 10 women, ages 18 to 30 years) served as the source for a controlled data set, forming the basis for modeling and application to parent-infant dyads. We acquired kinematic measurements of the chest wall during conversational speaking in individual and paired tasks. Similar inspiratory and expiratory durations between partners during conversation were observed and replicated findings from McFarland, 2002. Correlations between the partners were significant but dropped during the turn switch. Coherence and relative phase tests on respiratory signals from dyads also will be presented. These analyses yield valuable information on respiratory frequencies associated with pacer (medullary controlled CPGs) and frequencies associated with exogenous variables.

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