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Lecture 21 communication and collaboration models Today’s Lecture Introduction Face-to-face communication Conversation Grounding Text-based communication Group working Overview All computer systems, single user or multiuser, interact with the work-groups and organizations in which they are used. Need to understand normal human-human communication face-to-face communication involves eyes, face and body conversation can be analysed to establish its detailed structure Overview This can then be applied conversation, which has to text-based Reduced feedback for confirmation Less context to disambiguate expression Slower pace of interaction But is more easily reviewed Group working is more complex than that of a single person Influenced by the physical environment Experiments are more difficult to control and record Field studies must take into account the social situation Social nature of humans Humans are inherently social creatures We live together, work together, learn together, play together, etc. Therefore, we need to develop interactive systems that support and extend these kinds of social interactions Communication and collaboration Face-to-face communication Most primitive and most subtle form of communication Often seen as the paradigm for computer mediated communication Face-to-face communication Transfer effects Carry expectations into electronic media People are adaptable e.g. “the use of ‘over’ for turn-taking when using a walkie-talkie” But also expect they can use existing norms (e.g. cultural) Face-to-face communication Sometimes with disastrous results The rules of face-to-face conversation are not conscious, so, when they are broken, we do not always recognize the true problem. May interpret failure as rudeness of colleague e.g., Personal space video may destroy mutual impression of distance happily the “glass wall” effect helps Often the ‘glass wall’ afforded by the video screen makes the precise distance less important, which could have a positive effect during cross-cultural meetings. Personal Space Eye contact To convey interest and establish social presence Video may spoil direct eye contact But poor quality video better than audio only Establishing conversation context – focus of the Gestures and body language Much of our communication is through our bodies Gesture (and eye gaze) used for deictic reference Deictic – “directly pointing out” (oxford dictionary) Head and shoulders video loses this So: close focus for eye contact or wide focus for body language? Back channels Alison: do you fancy that film . . . er. . . ‘The green’ um . . . it starts at eight. Brian: great! Not just the words! Back channel responses from Brian at 1 and 2 Quizzical at 1 Affirmative at 2 Back channels include: Nods and grimaces Shrugs of the shoulders Grunts and raised eyebrows Utterance begins vague then sharpens up just enough Back channels II Restricting media restricts back channels Video … loss of body language Audio … loss of facial expression Half Duplex … lose most voice back channel responses Text Based … nothing left! Back channels used for turn-taking: Speaker offers the floor (fraction of a second gap) Listener requests the floor (facial expression, small noise) Grunts, ‘um's and ‘ah's, can be used by the: listener to claim the floor speaker to hold the floor But often too quiet for half-duplex channels Trans-continental conferences - special problems lag can exceed the turn taking gap leads to a monologue! Basic conversational structure Alison: Do you fancy that film Brian: the uh (500 ms) with the black cat –”The Green whatsit” Alison: yeah, go at uh (looks at watch 1.2 s) twenty to? Brian: sure Smallest unit is the utterance Turn taking … utterances usually alternate Basic conversational structure Simplest structure - adjacency pair Adjacency pairs may nest; Brian: Do you want some gateau? (X) Alison: is it very fattening? (Y) Brian: yes, very (Y) Alison: and lots of chocolate? (Z) Brian: masses (Z) Alison: I'll have a big slice then. (X) Structure is: B-x, A-y, B-y, A-z, B-z, A-x Inner pairs often for clarification But, simple pairing is not always possible or useful Context in conversation Utterances are highly ambiguous We use context to disambiguate Brian: (points) that post is leaning a bit Alison: that's the one you put in Context in conversation Two types of context: external context reference to the environment e.g., Brian's “that” = the thing pointed to [deictic reference] internal context reference to the previous conversation e.g., Alison's “that” = the last thing spoken of Context in conversation Often contextual utterances involve indexicals: that, this, he, she, it These may be used for internal or external context Also descriptive phrases may be used: external: “the corner post is leaning a bit” internal: “the post you mentioned” Common Ground Resolving context depends on meaning Conversation constantly negotiates meaning process called grounding Alison: So, you turn right beside the river. Brian: past the hotel. Alison: yeah - participants must share meaning so must have shared knowledge Each utterance is assumed to be: relevant - furthers the current topic helpful - comprehensible to listener Focus and breakdown Context resolved relative to current dialogue focus Alison: Oh, look at your roses – Brian: mmm, but I've had trouble with green fly. Alison: they're the symbol of the English summer. Brian: green fly? Alison: no roses silly! Tracing topics is one way to analyse conversation. Alison begins - topic is roses Brian shifts topic to green fly Alison misses shift in focus = breakdown Focus and breakdown You can classify utterances by the task they perform in the conversation Substantive – directly relevant to the development of the conversation Annotative – points of clarification, elaboration etc Procedural – talking about the process of collaboration itself Focus and breakdown Alison is giving Brian directions, using a whiteboard Alison: you go along this road until you get to the river Brian: do you stop before the river or after you cross it? Alison: before Brian: draw the river in blue and the road in black Alison: So, you turn right beside the river Brian: past the hotel Alison: yeah … is there another black pen? This one is running dry. NB: The final utterance is “procedural technical” and indicates that the system has become apparent to the participants substantive annotative annotative procedural substantive substantive procedural Breakdown Breakdown happens at all levels: Topic, indexicals, gesture Breakdowns are frequent, but: Redundancy makes detection easy (brian cannot interpret “they're the symbol of the english summer”) People very good at repair (brain and alison quickly restore shared focus) Electronic media may lose some redundancy = breakdown more severe breakdown Alison: Isn’t that beautiful Brian: the symmetry of the branches Points to a large male deer (stag) standing next to a tree He thinks she pointed to the tree Alison: how some people can dislike them I cannot understand! Brian: Yes – the park rangers should shoot all those damn deer before they kill the trees off for good! Alison: (silence) NOTE: Brian’s reference to symmetrical branches MAY have sounded to Alison like a reference to the stag’s antlers! Speech-Act Theory A specific form of conversational analysis Utterances characterised by what they do, they’re acts e.g., “I'm hungry” propositional meaning – hunger intended effect – “get me some food” Classic & wife” example: “I now pronounce you man Speech-Act Theory Basic conversational acts (illocutionary points): Promises Requests Declarations Assertions Counters Reneges Withdrawals Speech-Act Theory Speech acts need not be spoken e.g., silence often interpreted as acceptance Speech-Act Theory Generic patterns of acts can be identified: Conversation Seeks to obtain a specific request Conversation for possibilities (CfP) Looking towards future actions Conversation for clarification (CfC) Usually embedded in CfA - to clarify the requested action Conversation for action (CfA) for Orientation (CfO) Building a shared understanding Conversations for action Circles represent ‘states’ in the conversation Arcs represent utterances (speech acts) Simplest route 1-2-3-4-5: Alison: have you got the market survey on chocolate? [request] Brian: sure [promise] Brian: there you are [assert] Alison: thanks [declare] More complex routes possible, e.g., 1-2-6-3 Alison: have you got – [request] Brian: I've only got the summary figures [counter] Alison: that'll do [accept] Text based communication Most common media for asynchronous groupware exceptions: voice mail, answer phone Familiar medium, similar to paper letters but, electronic text may act as speech substitute! Text based communication Types of electronic text: Discrete: directed messages, no structure Linear: messages added (in temporal order) Non-Linear: hypertext linkages Spatial: two dimensional arrangement Text based communication Most obvious loss, no facial expression or body language weak back-channels, so it is difficult to convey: affective state - happy, sad, angry humorous illocutionary force - urgent, important, deferential Participants smilies ;-) compensate by flaming and Grounding constraints Establishing common ground depends on grounding constraints Co-Temporality: - instant feedthrough Simultaneity: - speaking together Sequence: - utterances ordered 33 Grounding constraints These constraints are often weaker in text based communication than in face-to-face conversation e.g., loss of sequence in linear text: network delays or coarse granularity = overlap Grounding constraints 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Bethan: how many should be in the group? Rowena: maybe this could be one of the 4 strongest reasons Rowena: please clarify what you mean Bethan: I agree Rowena: hang on Rowena: Bethan what did you mean? Message pairs 1&2 and 3&4 composed simultaneously i.e., lack of common experience Rowena: 2 1 3 4 5 6 Bethan: 1 2 4 3 5 6 Above shows breakdown of turn-taking result of poor back channels Maintaining context Recall context was essential for disambiguation Text loses external context, hence deixis (cf: deictic) linking to shared objects can help 1. Alison: Brian's got some lovely roses 2. Brian: I'm afraid they're covered in green fly 3. Clarise: I've seen them, they're beautiful Both (2) and (3) are responses to (1) but the transcript suggests green fly are beautiful Hypertext can maintain ‘parallel’ conversations Pace and Granularity Pace of conversation - the rate of turn taking face-to-face - every few seconds telephone - half a minute email - hours or days face-to-face conversation is highly interactive If initial utterance is vague feedback gives cues for comprehension lower pace = less feedback = less interactive Pace and Granularity Coping strategies attempt to increase granularity: eagerness - looking ahead in the conversation game Brian: Like a cup of tea? Milk or lemon? multiplexing - several topics in one utterance Alison: No thanks. I love your roses. The Conversation Game Conversation is like a game Linear text follows one path through it Participants choose the path by their utterances Hypertext can follow several paths at once Group dynamics Workgroups constantly change: in structure in size Several groupware systems have explicit roles But e.g., M.D. down a mine is under the authority of the foreman e.g., a General can be under a Private during an Int. Briefing and roles depend on context and time may not reflect duties e.g., subject of biography, author, but now writer Group dynamics Social structure may change: democratic, autocratic, and group may fragment into sub-groups Groupware systems rarely achieve this flexibility Groups also change in composition new members must be able to ‘catch up’ Physical environment Face-to-face working radically affected by layout of workplace e.g., meeting rooms: recessed terminals reduce visual impact inward facing to encourage eye contact different social-power positions Traditional cognitive psychology is all in the head Physical environment Distributed cognition suggests we look to the world Thinking takes place in interaction with other people and the physical environment Implications for group work: importance of mediating representations group knowledge greater than sum of parts design focus on external representation Summary Face-to-face communication is extremely complex. People maintain precise distances, which can be disrupted through video links. At a higher level, the structure of conversation can be seen as a sequence of turns, usually alternating between the participants. Summary Context is important in disambiguating utterances, especially when deictic reference is also used. Text-based communication loses most of the low-level feedback of face-to-face conversation. Group dynamics make it very difficult to predict how a particular group will behave.