Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

Stephanie A. Borrie


Stephanie A. Borrie


Ronald B. Gillam


Tyra Sellers


Purpose: Conversational entrainment describes the tendency for individuals to align their behavior with their communication partners and is essential for successful interaction. Evidence of entrainment in adults is robust, yet research regarding its development is sparse. Here, we investigate the effectiveness of a quasi-conversational paradigm for the purpose of identifying the speech rate entrainment abilities of children.

Method: Data were collected from a total of 50 typically developing children from 5-14 years old. Participants completed an entrainment task to identify the presence of speech rate modification depending on the presence of “fast” or “slow” stimuli. The entrainment task utilized a quasi-conversational design requiring participants to listen and respond to video clips with a random presentation of speech rate conditions.

Results: Results indicated no significant difference between conditions for speech rate production of any age. Taken with previous literature, analysis suggests a lack of sensitivity in the current paradigm.

Conclusions: Understanding how entrainment develops in children will increase knowledge regarding communication in disordered populations, and provide insight into the mechanisms of typical conversational entrainment. By building upon the current paradigm, future research moves toward the establishment of a methodology that simulates entrainment effects in conversation while reasonably eliminating confounding factors of human-to-human interaction.