Alignment of Spatial Perspective


Most of the experimental research on dialogue that has provided evidence for interactive alignment focuses on speakers aligning at the lexical and syntactic levels of representations and dialogic contributions, i.e., having converging choices of lexical and syntactic means of referring to pictured objects and events. Less is known about alignment at the conceptual level, or situation models. This paper addresses alignment in spatial perspective (route vs. survey perspective) between speakers in a confederate experimental task taking turns in describing routes on schematic maps. The findings of two experiments show that speakers’ spatial perspective choices are aligned with those of their partners both before and after partners switch perspective. Furthermore, this alignment effect holds both if partners show consistency adhering to the same perspective for a sequence of descriptions and when they display inconsistency by switching spatial perspective for every new description they provide.

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