Understanding the Dynamics of Conversation

What is this research about?

We have come a long way in understanding language and how this is processed in the brain. However, communication is a lot more complex than simply having the right words at the right time. People often use irony, hyperbole and inference, to make a point. Furthermore, when conversing people need to anticipate their conversational partner, fill in during awkward pauses and make room for them to contribute. Exactly how this on-line monitoring proceeds is unclear.

In this project we are commencing a series of studies to examine physiological responses when two people converse with each other. We will monitor arousal, heart rate and breathing to determine whether these change predictably in parallel with the dynamics of conversational flow.


Skye McDonald's Lab

Moving Ahead - Centre of Research Excellence in Brain Recovery