MONITOR:Information filtering in task-oriented
Multi-media communicationsdevices seem to be based on the idea that people have unlimited capacity for processing pertinent information as they communicate. Recent work in psychology reveals, however, that people have limited capacities and that they will ignore complex information or take shortcuts in reasoning about it, even if the information is very pertinent to the task in hand. This project is directed to the ways in which normal adults streamline a process basic to human-human communication, discovering and keeping track of what their listeners know. In a series of psychological experiments, the project will use non-invasive eye-tracking to discover when speakers look at indications of where theirlisteners are looking during spoken task-oriented dialogues. Experimental conditions will vary visual information about listener gaze, number of listeners, and value of listener information. Coded transcriptions of whatspeakers say, time-aligned to eye-tracking records, will reveal whether and how visually acquired knowledge about listeners affects the course of the dialogue. The results will inform both psychological models of language production and guidelines for efficient engineering of multimedia communication systems. The Ph.D. student associated with the project will have responsibility for analysing the incidence, location and type of disfluencies accompanying the uptake of complex information.