The Effect of Familiarity on Conversation Turns in Dyadic Conversation Among Chinese Older Adults

SAGE Open, Volume 13, Issue 2, April-June 2023.
This study explored the effect of mutual familiarity of interlocutors on quantitative contributions of conversation turns in dyadic conversation among Mandarin Chinese-speaking older adults. A quantitative quasi-experimental study was conducted. A total of 42 healthy older adults aged 65 years or over were recruited. Percentages of contributed conversation turns for each interlocutor were computed as frequency of interlocutor conversation turns divided by total frequency of dyad conversation turns multiplied by 100. Quantitative asymmetries were differences of percentages of contributed conversation turns. A total of 60 ten-minute dyadic conversation sessions were conducted, including 30 mutually familiar-older-adult sessions (FOAS) and 30 mutually unfamiliar-older-adult sessions (UOAS). Quantitatively asymmetrical contributions of conversation turns occurred in both FOAS and UOAS, and quantitative contributions of conversation turns in FOAS were significantly more asymmetrical than those in UOAS. There were three limitations to the current study, including limited representations of everyday conversation contexts (e.g., at home); no consideration of the types of conversation modes; and no consideration of sensitivity to conversation as one of the inclusion criteria for research participants. Quantitatively asymmetrical contributions of conversation turns occurred in both mutually FOAS and UOAS dyads among Mandarin Chinese-speaking older adults. Moreover, quantitative contributions of conversation turns in mutually FOAS dyads were significantly more asymmetrical than those in mutually UOAS dyads. Sufficient knowledge of changes in conversation turns in dyadic conversation among healthy older adults might reduce misperceptions of older adults suffering from neurological disease.

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