Conversation – UROP Spring Symposium 2021


Pedro Fonseca


Pronouns: He/Him/His

Research Mentor(s): Julie Boland, Professor
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Psychology, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 2 (11am – 11:50am)
Breakout Room: Room 3
Presenter: 1

Event Link


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues without a clear end in sight, a higher degree of conversation through digital means has risen. Often through online meetings there are technical boundaries that create odd disturbances within conversation that may make these meetings hesitant, awkward, and uncomfortable. Through preexisting literature on the turn-taking process in conversation, it is obvious that response times between two people conversing is very important in how one perceives the answer that will be given. Considering that technical delays in audio input may increase response time, it is imperative that digital conversations are examined. The basis of our study relies heavily on a similar project performed on non-digital conversation in the Cognition journal (Corps et al 2018). The project involved participants answering yes or no to questions considered either predictable or unpredictable with their response times recorded. This was replicated in the study with the addition of the variables “remote” and “local.” An unrelated member of the team prerecorded the questions from the Cognition journal to be used in data collection. The process involved one on one meetings with participants on Zoom where the audio recordings were played by the researcher through the share feature (remote) and later switched to the participant playing the audio through the share feature (local). The meeting was recorded in attempts to later derive the response times through manual transcription. Reflection on the raw data seems to suggest that response times were indeed larger though this process has yet to be completed. However, results will likely show an increase in response times which – taken with a grain of salt as there are many technical issues at play – can cause the hesitancy, awkwardness, and uncomfortableness that digital meetings may bring.

Authors: Pedro Fonseca, Julie Boland, Myles Williamson, Illana Mermelstein
Research Method: Data Collection and Analysis

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