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Doctoral dissertation project of Lena Pagel

Quelle: Foto von Fabian Stürtz

Multimodality and interactive alignment in conversation (working title)

As humans, we are inherently social beings who continuously interact with each other. In such situations of contact, we tend to mutually adapt our behaviour and become 'more alike', which is called interactive alignment. This can be observed in all kinds of interactive situations, for example when we converge to a mutual rhythm when playing music in a group or when we synchronise our steps when walking side by side with someone. Interactive alignment can be understood as an essentially social and cooperative behaviour.


It also plays an important role in various aspects of spoken communication, where we become more similar to our interlocutor during a conversation. It can, among others, be observed that speakers start using more similar grammatical structures or choose more similar words when they interact with each other. This dissertation project investigates interactive alignment in three dimensions of conversation: articulation (i.e. the movements of jaw, lips and tongue), intonation (i.e. speech melody) and speech-accompanying gestures (i.e. head and eyebrow movements). In a multimodal approach, it shall be analysed how speaker-specific prosodic patterns, which are encoded in all three aforementioned dimensions, are subject to interactive alignment. 


In a series of experiments, speakers shall perform tasks in two interactive settings, one with a virtual avatar, one with another participant. Acoustic and kinematic analyses are carried out using 3D Electromagnetic Articulography (see picture) to capture qualitative and quantitative alignment effects on prosodic patterns. This multimodal and multidimensional approach has the potential to shed more light on the social nature of human interaction that enables successful communication between speakers.


Short Biography

Lena Pagel studied Linguistics and Phonetics and Media and Culture studies (Bachelor of Arts) at the University of Cologne and Université de La Réunion. In 2021, she received her Master of Arts in Linguistics with a specialisation in Phonetics from the University of Cologne. Since 2022, Lena is a doctoral scholarship holder of the a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School of the Humanities in Cologne. Her doctoral research focusses on interactive alignment in dialogues and is supervised by PD Dr. Doris Mücke.


Contact  lena.pagelSpamProtectionuni-koeln.de 


Publications/ Talks/ Awards & Acknowledgements

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