Individual differences in perspective taking and field-independence mediate structural persistence in dialog

William S. Horton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Speakers often reuse syntactic constructions recently produced by an interlocutor. As a form of conversational repetition, evidence for such structural persistence may depend on the extent to which different people are sensitive to the linguistic contributions of others. To investigate how individual differences might mediate the likelihood of structural persistence in dialog, two potential measures of such sensitivity - a measure of self-reported perspective taking and a measure of field-dependence/independence - were collected from participants who also worked with a confederate partner on a picture description task adopted from Branigan, Pickering, and Cleland (2000). Following prime descriptions produced by the confederate, participants produced target descriptions of ditransitive events that could be described with either prepositional dative (PD) or double object (DO) constructions. In general, participants who rated themselves higher in perspective taking and who were identified as more field-independent showed more evidence of repeating the partner's syntax; however, these patterns were limited to PD primes. Variability in sensitivity to others' perspectives, and variability in one's ability to attend to local structure, may shape the likelihood that interlocutors will display evidence for structural persistence in dialog.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-48
Number of pages8
JournalActa psychologica
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Dialog
  • Field-dependence
  • Individual differences
  • Perspective taking
  • Structural persistence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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