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Multi-Party Conversational Turn-Taking as an Antiferromagnetic Spin Glass

By Kornel Laskowski, Mattias Heldner and Jens Edlund


We present empirical justification of why logistic regression may acceptably approximate, using the number of currently vocalizing interlocutors, the probabilities returned by a time-invariant, conditionally independent model of turn-taking. The resulting parametric model with 3 degrees of freedom is shown to be identical to an infinite-range Ising antiferromagnet, with slow connections, in an external field; it is suitable for undifferentiated-participant scenarios. In differentiatedparticipant scenarios, untying parameters results in an infinite-range spin glass whose degrees of freedom scale as the square of the number of participants; it offers an efficient representation of participant-pair synchrony. We discuss the implications of model parametrization and of the thermodynamic and feed-forward perceptron formalisms for easily quantifying aspects of conversational dynamics.

Year: 2011
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