Congratulations to Uriel, Emily, and Lee for a paper published recently in the Journal of the Acoustic Society of America! The title and abstract are as follows:
Speakers have been shown to alter their speech to resemble that of their conversational partner. Do speakers converge with their interlocutor’s baseline, or does convergence stem from conversational properties that similarly affect both parties? Using the Switchboard corpus, this paper shows evidence for speakers’ convergence in speech rate to the other party’s baseline, not only to conversation-specific properties. Study 1 shows that the method for calculating speech rate used in this paper is powerful enough to replicate established findings. Study 2 demonstrates that speakers are mostly affected by their own behavior in other contexts, but that they also converge to their interlocutor’s baseline, established using the interlocutor’s behavior in other contexts. Study 2 also shows that speakers change their speech rate in response to the interlocutor’s characteristics: speakers speak more slowly with older speakers regardless of the interlocutor’s speech rate, and male speakers speak faster with other male speakers.
The full paper can be found here.