Gaze Aversion and Response Preference in Dutch Face-to-Face Conversation: A Corpus Study.

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People use language in a multimodal way when engaging in face-to-face social interactions. Gaze behavior and direction play several important roles in this regard. The current study investigates the connection between gaze behavior and response preference. This topic has been studied in English but remains unexplored in Dutch. Therefore, this study is meant to fill the gap in the literature on gaze behavior and response preference in Dutch. Even more so, this study goes beyond the scope of existing literature by applying additional analyses. More specifically, the aim is to investigate three research questions based on a corpus containing dialogues between Dutch speakers. Firstly, the difference in gap duration between preferred and dispreferred responses is under study. Secondly, we investigate the connection between the number of occurrences of gaze maintenance and gaze aversion, and response preference. Lastly, we aim to relate the specific directions of the gaze aversions – upward, downward, sideward, and diagonally – to either preferred or dispreferred responses. We found that, in general, like speakers of English, Dutch speakers have the tendency to delay their dispreferred responses in comparison to preferred responses. Additionally, like English speakers, they also display a higher number of gaze aversions during dispreferred responses. The third research question revealed that downward and sideward gaze aversions are mainly connected to preferred responses. On the other hand, a bigger proportion of dispreferred responses was connected to diagonal and upward gaze aversions. The current study is meant to give better insights into the topics of gaze behavior and response preference in a language other than English. Moreover, the aim is to build on previous research by implementing the aforementioned additional analyses. The results from this study improve our understanding of nonverbal cues in social interaction, which can in turn contribute to our comprehension of social dynamics and interpersonal relationships. Lastly, this study could be replicated in various languages, allowing for a comparison of the relationship between gaze behavior and response preference across various cultures.
Faculteit der Letteren