Floor apportionment and gaze in conversational dyads

  • Beattie G
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The relationship between gaze & floor-switching has not been well understood. The monitoring & signaling functions of gaze may be distinguishable by finding a relationship between gaze & floor-switching both at the points of complete & incomplete utterances. Three-hour-long interactions with a graduate student & an undergraduate were videotaped, & a fourth involved two faculty members interacting in a lengthy seminar. All Ss were aware that they were being filmed. Middle sections of the tapes were used for analysis, & all 5 Ss were M. The presence of gaze did not lead to a significant increase in the incidence of short switching pauses, & significantly more immediate speaker switches were found when gaze did not occur. There were also significantly more immediate & short latency responses to questions terminating without gaze than with gaze. Questions terminating with gaze were judged to be more difficult than questions without gaze. No evidence of a floor-apportionment function of gaze was obtained. 4 Tables. Modified HA.




Beattie, G. W. (1978). Floor apportionment and gaze in conversational dyads. British Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 17(1), 7–15. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-8260.1978.tb00889.x

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