Detecting politeness and efficiency in a cooperative social interaction

Paul M. Brunet, Marcela Charfuelan Oliva, Roderick Cowie, Marc Schröder, Hastings Donnan, Ellen Douglas-Cowie

In: 11th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association 2010 (INTERSPEECH 2010). Conference in the Annual Series of Interspeech Events (INTERSPEECH-10) September 26-30 Makuhari Japan ISCA 9/2010.


We developed a cooperative time-sensitive task to study vocal expression of politeness and efficiency. Sixteen dyads completed 20 trials of the "Maze Task" where one participant (the "navigator") gave oral instructions (mainly "up" "down" "left" "right") for the other (the "pilot") to follow. For half of the trials, navigators were instructed to be polite, and for the other half to be efficient. The simplicity of the task left few ways to express politeness. Nevertheless it significantly affected task accuracy, and pilots' subjective ratings indicate that it was perceived. Efficiency was not as clearly perceived. Preliminary acoustic analysis suggests relevant dimensions.


Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz
German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence