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Title: Reference frame selection and representation in dialogue and monologue
Author: Watson, Matthew E.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2006
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This thesis is an investigation into the use and representation of reference frames. A reference frame is an axial co-ordinate system that is represented by the setting of at least four parameters: origin, orientation, direction and scale (Logan & Sadler, 1996). The reference frame parses space into different regions around an object (reference object) so that the location of other objects (figure objects) can be described in relation to the reference object. There are at least three different types of reference frame recognised in the literature (e.g. Levinson, 2003; Logan & Sadler, 1996; Miller & Johnson-Laird, 1976): the absolute reference frame, based upon directional features of the environment (e.g. gravity), the intrinsic reference frame, based upon the intrinsic direction of the reference object, and the relative reference frame, based upon the intrinsic sides of a viewer. This thesis is split into three separate sections each investigating how it is that reference frames are employed to allow us to describe the location of objects. The first section investigates the use of reference frames in dialogue. There has been little work investigating how interlocutors communicate object location to each other. Research investigating the use of non-spatial language in dialogue has shown that interlocutors come to speak in a similar fashion to one another (e.g. Branigan, Pickering & Cleland, 2000; Garrod & Anderson, 1987). Pickering and Garrod (2004) have argued that this is evidence that interlocutors align representations during dialogue. The first section investigates whether or not interlocutors align reference frames. If a speaker uses an intrinsic reference frame is an addressee more likely to then use an intrinsic reference frame? The results show that interlocutors do align reference frames and this is interpreted in terms of the interactive alignment model of dialogue (Pickering & Garrod, 2004). The second part of the thesis uses a dialogue paradigm, and the fact that interlocutors are more likely to use the same reference frame as just used by a partner than an alternative, to investigate different taxonomies of reference frames. The experiments investigate the different predictions made by Levinson’s (1996, 2003) taxonomy of reference frames and the Traditional taxonomy of reference frames (Miller & Johnson-Laird, 1976). The results support the Traditional taxonomy of reference frames over Levinson’s taxonomy, but future research is suggested to help separate the contribution of different aspects of reference frames to the alignment effect in dialogue. The final part of the thesis is an investigation into how the distance parameter is set. These experiments show that a functional interaction between the figure and the reference object leads to the distance parameter being set as shorter than if the two objects are not interacting.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available