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Here, we address the measurement of mimicry, that is when speakers’ speech variations look like parallel patterns.
As a definition of mimicry, we often read in the literature description such as mimicry is “The situation where the observed behaviours of two inter-actants although dissimilar at the start of the interaction are moving towards behavioral matching”. These types of descriptions imply that mimicry is a linear phenomenon and that speakers tend to imitate over time. However, it can be assumed, especially when studying spontaneous speech, that there are rather phases of mimicry and non-mimicry and that mimicry should be rather investigated as a dynamic phenomenon.
As mimicry has been considered so far as a linear phenomenon, metrics developed to measure this phenomenon failed to capture its temporal dynamics. In this work then, we propose to measure mimicry on the whole interaction but also at certain points of the conversation.
Vaughan, B.& De Looze, C. (2010) Measuring variations of mimicry by means of prosodic cues in task-based scenarios and conversational speech. International Symposium on Focus on Actions in Social Talk. Dublin, Ireland, 14-15 March.