The automaticity of entrainment: Perceptual, social, and individual differences in vocal alignment Restricted; Files Only

Lewandowski, Eva (Spring 2018)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/f1881k91k?locale=en
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Abstract

Vocal alignment, or entrainment to the speech characteristics of others, has been hypothesized to strengthen social affiliation and enhance efficiency of spoken communication. This dissertation investigates vocal alignment in terms of the automaticity of its component processes. Two experiments test the hypothesis that alignment is driven primarily by automatic, relatively resource-free perceptual-motor processing, which can be modulated by intentional, resource demanding cognitive control mechanisms. Experiment 1 focused on the relative automaticity of perceptual-motor processes and explored the extent to which vocal alignment is “efficient” (e.g., does not require attentional or cognitive resources) by introducing a working memory load. Experiment 2 examined the social and cognitive control processes associated with vocal alignment by pairing targets of alignment (e.g., model talkers) with socially positive or negative information. This was done to determine if trait inferences influenced alignment behavior and whether social evaluation required cognitive resources. Both experiments also explored individual differences in the tendency to entrain, focusing both on differences in dispositional characteristics and productive flexibility. The findings of Experiment 1 suggest that vocal alignment may not be necessarily resource demanding. Experiment 2 demonstrates that using social assessments to guide vocal alignment, however, may require cognitive resources. Certain types of flexibility in speech production (e.g., variation in vowel spectra) were associated with differences in vocal alignment, but individual differences in empathy were not. These results inform the interface between language and other socio-cognitive systems, and provide a basis for further exploration of entrainment in speech behavior.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER I: GENERAL INTRODUCTION............................................................... 1

Alignment for Social Fitness............................................................................................. 2

Effects of Social and Situational Factors............................................................................ 5

Cognitive and Perceptual Mechanisms Supporting Vocal Alignment................................. 7

A Unifying Framework................................................................................................... 10

Relative Automaticity of Vocal Alignment...................................................................... 12

Individual Differences in Vocal Alignment..................................................................... 15

Overview of the Dissertation........................................................................................... 18

CHAPTER II: EXPERIMENT 1.................................................................................. 20

Methods......................................................................................................................... 24

Participants.................................................................................................................. 24

Materials..................................................................................................................... 25

Procedure.................................................................................................................... 29

Results............................................................................................................................ 31

Preliminary Analyses................................................................................................... 33

Cognitive Load and Vocal Alignment......................................................................... 34

Individual Differences................................................................................................. 43

Discussion....................................................................................................................... 48

Automaticity of Vocal Alignment................................................................................ 49

Cognitive Control of Vocal Alignment........................................................................ 50

Relationship Among Measures of Vocal Alignment..................................................... 52

Individual Differences in Speech Production............................................................... 52

Summary....................................................................................................................... 53

CHAPTER III: EXPERIMENT 2................................................................................. 55

Methods......................................................................................................................... 64

Participants.................................................................................................................. 64

Materials..................................................................................................................... 64

Procedure.................................................................................................................... 68

Results............................................................................................................................ 71

Preliminary Analyses................................................................................................... 72

Trait Attributions and Cognitive Load......................................................................... 75

Individual Differences................................................................................................. 77

Discussion....................................................................................................................... 79

Secondhand Experience of Others............................................................................... 80

Individual Differences................................................................................................. 82

Summary....................................................................................................................... 85

CHAPTER IV: GENERAL DISCUSSION................................................................. 86

Automaticity of Vocal Alignment................................................................................... 86

Individual Differences.................................................................................................... 89

Speech Perception and Production.................................................................................. 91

Speech Specificity........................................................................................................... 93

Limitations...................................................................................................................... 95

Conclusion........................................................................................................................ 96

References......................................................................................................................... 97

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