Topic Shift in Efficient Discourse Production

Ting Qian, T. Florian Jaeger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Speakers have been hypothesized to organize discourse content so as to achieve communicative efficiency. Previous work has focused on indirect tests of the hypothesis that speakers aim to keep per-word entropy constant across discourses to achieve communicative efficiency (Genzel & Charniak, 2002). We present novel and more direct evidence by examining the role of topic shift in discourse planning. If speakers aim for constant per-word entropy, they should encode less unconditional per-word entropy (as estimated based on only sentence-internal cues) following topic shifts, as there is less relevant context to condition on. Applying latent topic modeling to a large set of English texts, we find that speakers are indeed sensitive to the recent topic structure in the predicted way.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationExpanding the Space of Cognitive Science - Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, CogSci 2011
EditorsLaura Carlson, Christoph Hoelscher, Thomas F. Shipley
PublisherThe Cognitive Science Society
Pages3313-3318
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9780976831877
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes
Event33rd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Expanding the Space of Cognitive Science, CogSci 2011 - Boston, United States
Duration: Jul 20 2011Jul 23 2011

Publication series

NameExpanding the Space of Cognitive Science - Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, CogSci 2011

Conference

Conference33rd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society: Expanding the Space of Cognitive Science, CogSci 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBoston
Period7/20/117/23/11

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

Keywords

  • communicative efficiency
  • discourse production
  • topic shift

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