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Entropy 2010, 12(6), 1440-1483; doi:10.3390/e12061440
Article

A Network Model of Interpersonal Alignment in Dialog

1,* , 1
 and
2
Received: 9 May 2010 / Accepted: 3 June 2010 / Published: 9 June 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Complexity of Human Language and Cognition)
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Abstract

In dyadic communication, both interlocutors adapt to each other linguistically, that is, they align interpersonally. In this article, we develop a framework for modeling interpersonal alignment in terms of the structural similarity of the interlocutors’ dialog lexica. This is done by means of so-called two-layer time-aligned network series, that is, a time-adjusted graph model. The graph model is partitioned into two layers, so that the interlocutors’ lexica are captured as subgraphs of an encompassing dialog graph. Each constituent network of the series is updated utterance-wise. Thus, both the inherent bipartition of dyadic conversations and their gradual development are modeled. The notion of alignment is then operationalized within a quantitative model of structure formation based on the mutual information of the subgraphs that represent the interlocutor’s dialog lexica. By adapting and further developing several models of complex network theory, we show that dialog lexica evolve as a novel class of graphs that have not been considered before in the area of complex (linguistic) networks. Additionally, we show that our framework allows for classifying dialogs according to their alignment status. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first approach to measuring alignment in communication that explores the similarities of graph-like cognitive representations.
Keywords: alignment in communication; structural coupling; linguistic networks; graph distance measures; mutual information of graphs; quantitative network analysis alignment in communication; structural coupling; linguistic networks; graph distance measures; mutual information of graphs; quantitative network analysis
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Mehler, A.; Lücking, A.; Weiß, P. A Network Model of Interpersonal Alignment in Dialog. Entropy 2010, 12, 1440-1483.

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