Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education

Committee Chair(s)

Stephanie A. Borrie


Stephanie A. Borrie


Ronald Gillam


Julie M. Liss


Breanna E. Studenka


Tyson S. Barrett


Conversation plays a vital role in the lives of adolescents. Through conversation, adolescents establish meaningful connections, develop friendships, and learn social skills they will use the rest of their lives. Therefore, there is a recognized need to understand the conversational patterns of this age group. One conversational skill that may be important in adolescent conversations is that of speech entrainment. Defined as the similarity of behaviors between conversation partners, there is strong theoretical rationale to suggest this phenomenon develops during adolescence and may be an important component of successful adolescent conversations. However there is little in the way of empirical evidence to highlight the specific developmental trajectory or actual benefits of entrainment for this age group. Accordingly, the purpose of this study is to characterize the speech entrainment patterns of early adolescents. To do this, we examine the entrainment patterns in a corpus of 96 task-based conversations between neurotypical adolescents between the ages of 9 and 14 years and a comparison corpus of 16 task-based conversations between neurotypical adults. Our findings show that entrainment skills develop across early adolescents with continued development likely extending into mid-and/or late-adolescence. Additionally, our results point to the importance of speech entrainment in promoting successful conversations in this age group. Accordingly, through this project, we set the stage for continued research investigating the role of speech entrainment in neurotypical and neurodiverse adolescent populations.



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