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❚ conversation ❚ actions ❚ cooperation ✱ Barbara Tversky

entrainment and conversational coordination

Conversation requires complementary coordination on many levels … conversation partners collaborate on creating meaning, and much of that collaboration is direct, deliberate, and even deliberated. In actuality … do not just coordinate the content and the timing of the conversation, but also aspects of their behavior that do not at first seem relevant to the conversation.

… actions, leaning forward to take the stage or backward to yield the stage, crossing or uncrossing their legs; mimic each other, a phenomenon known as entrainment; adopt each other’s words and phrases, even accents; copy each other’s facial expressions, eye gaze, and body movements; seemingly irrelevant behaviors turn out to serve as “social glue,” showing and promoting mutual understanding, thereby enhancing communication and cooperation.

When we use the same words, make complementary actions, we are understanding each other and we like each other more. … interactions, important in and of themselves, are opportunities for learning actions and behaviors. We observe others’ actions to coordinate with our own actions, to plan our own actions, but also to learn new actions. Watching what others do might be the most efficient way to figure out what you need to do.