Research Reports - Conversational synchrony in the communicative interactions of individuals with traumatic brain injury

Brain Inj. 2015 Jun 17:1-9

Gordon RG(1), Rigon A, Duff MC

PRIMARY OBJECTIVE: To assess conversational synchrony in moderate-to-severe
traumatic brain injury (TBI). Conversational synchrony, assessed by the
similarity and co-ordination of words and words per turn, allows for effective
and efficient communication and enhances the development of rapport.
RESEARCH DESIGN: Eighteen participants with TBI (seven females) and 19 healthy
comparison participants (CP; eight females) engaged in a 10-minute conversation
with an unfamiliar partner.
METHODS AND PROCEDURES: Conversational synchrony was assessed in these
conversations by measuring the degree to which the participants' productions of
words and words per turn became more similar to one another over the course of
the session.
MAIN OUTCOMES AND RESULTS: Significantly more sessions with participants with TBI
(11/18 for words, 9/18 for words per turn) compared to CP sessions (5/19 for
words, 4/19 for words per turns) did not display conversational synchrony.
Likewise, synchrony was significantly correlated with subjective ratings of the
interaction from raters who were blind to participant status and the study
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that TBI can disrupt conversational synchrony
and can, in turn, negatively impact social perceptions. The relationship between
impaired conversational synchrony and other social communicative deficits in TBI
warrants further study.

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