The Role of Eye-gaze Patterns in Turn-taking

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In the past, there have been several studies about eye-gaze patterns in turn-taking. One of these studies is that of Vertegaal et al (2001), which was to verify if eye gaze could predict to whom conversational partners are speaking or listening to in a multi-user environment. By multi-user environments the experimenters mean a conversation with three or more actors involved. In their introduction Vertegaal et al (2001) present several different predictions about the research. In their first hypothesis they argue that “significantly more time is spent gazing at the individual one listens or speaks to, than at others” (p.302). But to prevent the bias of participants also looking at other conversational partners, they added the second hypothesis “On average, significantly more time is spent gazing at each person when addressing a group of three, than at others when addressing a single individual” (p. 302). However, Vertegaal et al (2001) found it possible that when speakers are having a conversation with more than one person, they would divide their attention between the conversational partners. Even though they are addressing just one person in the given group. Therefore this third and fourth hypotheses were proposed: “On average, time spent gazing at each individual when addressing a group of three is significantly more than one third of the time spent gazing at a single addressed individual” (p. 302) and “On average, significantly more time is spent gazing at the individual one listens to, than at the individual one speaks to” (hypothesis 4, p.302). In their study they did a within-subject design, where seven groups consisting of four participants discussed different given topics in face-to-face meetings. All respondents participa...

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