Audience design and egocentrism in reference production during human-computer dialogue

Paola R. Peña (Lead / Corresponding author), Philip Doyle, Justin Edwards, Diego Garaialde, Daniel Rough, Anna Bleakley, Leigh Clark, Anita Tobar Henriquez, Holly Branigan, Iona Gessinger, Benjamin R. Cowan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Our current understanding of the mechanisms that underpin language production in human-computer dialogue (HCD) is sparse. What work there is in the field of human-computer interaction (HCI) supposes that people tend to adapt their language allocentrically, taking into account the perceived limitations of their partners, when talking to computers. Yet, debates in human-human dialogue (HHD) research suggest that people may also act egocentrically when producing language in dialogue. Our research aims to identify whether, similar to HHD, users also produce egocentric language within speech-based HCD interactions and how this behaviour compares to interaction with human dialogue partners. Such knowledge benefits the field of HCI by better understanding the mechanisms present in language production during HCD, which can be used to build more nuanced theories and models of user behaviour to inform research and design of speech interfaces. Through two controlled experiments using an adapted director-matcher task similar to those used in research on perspective-taking in psycholinguistics, we show that people do take the computer's perspective into account less (i.e. behave more egocentrically) during HCD than in HHD (Experiment 1). However, this egocentric effect is eliminated when computers are framed as separate interlocutors rather than computers integrated in the interactive system and where differences in perspective are made salient, leading to similar levels of perspective-taking as with human partners (Experiment 2). We discuss the findings, emphasising potential explanations for this effect, focusing on how egocentric and allocentric production processes may interact, along with the impact of partner roles and the division of labour in HCD as an underlying explanation for the effects seen.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103058
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Human Computer Studies
Early online date19 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023


  • Audience design
  • Egocentrism
  • Human-machine dialogue
  • Reference production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Education
  • General Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Hardware and Architecture


Dive into the research topics of 'Audience design and egocentrism in reference production during human-computer dialogue'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this