Update: CogSIS Project members will be organising the 1st International Conference on Conversational User Interfaces (CUI 2019) in Dublin, Ireland on 22nd-23rd August 2019. Visit https://www.cui2019.com for more information.
Through the growth of intelligent personal assistants, pervasive and wearable computing and robot based technologies speech interfaces are set to become a common dialogue partner. Technological challenges around the production of natural synthetic voices have been widely researched. Yet comparatively little is understood about how synthesis affects user experience, in particular how design decisions around naturalness (e.g. accent used and expressivity) impact the assumptions we make about speech interfaces as communicative actors (i.e. our partner models). Our ground-breaking project examines the psychological consequences of synthesis design decisions on the relationship between humans and speech technology. It fuses knowledge, concepts and methods from psycholinguistics, experimental psychology, and human-computer interaction (e.g. perspective taking and partner modelling research in human-human dialogue, controlled experiments, questionnaires) and speech technology (generation of natural speech synthesis) to 1) understand how synthesis design choices, specifically accent and expressivity, impact a user’s partner model, 2) how these choices interact with context and 3) impact language production.