Quirky conversations: How patients with schizophrenia do dialogue differently - Invited talk

Conversation is a collaborative process where speakers and listeners produce information together, continuously coordinating to incrementally co-construct the evolving content. Smooth turn exchange is achieved through tight coordination of interlocutors’ verbal and non-verbal behaviour and becomes problematic when this deviates from expectations. Patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia are one of the most socially excluded in society. It is well documented that they have problems with language and social cognitive skills, including with self-monitoring and turn-taking, yet little research has investigated how these impact interaction. Interactions involving patients offer an opportunity to observe the strategies that people employ when interaction is problematic, and shed light on how ‘normal’ interactions are managed. Using data from a corpus of triadic conversations containing 20 dialogues involving one patient with a diagnosis of schizophrenia and two healthy controls and 20 dialogues involving three healthy participants, Dr Howes will show that dialogues involving a patient differ from controls in terms of turn-taking, disfluencies, gesture and repair. Furthermore, the presence of the patient influences the behaviour of the healthy controls they interact with. The data supports the idea that disfluencies are communicative solutions, not problems. This unique data demonstrates that not only are there communication difficulties in schizophrenia but they also impact on social interactions more broadly, thus providing new insights into the social deficits of this complex disorder.
Research areas:
Type of Publication:
In Proceedings
Book title:
Face2face: advancing the science of social interaction
Royal Society
Invited talk
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