Mis-taking turns: Conversing with a patient with schizophrenia

Smooth turn exchange is achieved through tight coordination of interlocutors' verbal and non-verbal communication and becomes problematic when this tightly coordinated communication deviates from expectations. A central and debilitating feature of schizophrenia, which may contribute to patients' social exclusion, is patients' difficulty interacting with others, including the ability to 'mesh' their turns appropriately. We show that there are greater within turn pauses in patients' partners, when they leave space for a turn exchange that the patient does not take up as well as greater delay before the patients' partners take the floor. We further identify the increasingly explicit strategies that participants employ in offering the floor to the patient from nonverbal cues to explicit direct questioning. This shows how, despite the lack of clarity about who should take the floor in patient interactions, and patients' problematic floor change cues, their interlocutors can nevertheless adapt the strategies they use to manage the coordination of smooth turn exchanges.
Research areas:
Type of Publication:
In Proceedings
Book title:
The Role of the Current Speaker in Conversational Turn Taking – Theoretical, Experimental, and Corpus Linguistic Perspectives on Speaker Contributions to Aligned Turn-Timing
Hits: 40