Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology, and Life Sciences, Vol. 18, Iss. 4, October, 2014, pp. 371-396
@2014 Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology & Life Sciences


Verbal Interactional Dominance and Coordinative Structure of Speech Rhythms of Staff and Clients with an Intellectual Disability

Ellen Reuzel, Tilburg University and J.P. van den Bent Stichting, The Netherlands
Petri J. C. M. Embregts, Tilburg University and Dichterbij Kennisn, the Netherlands
Anna M. T. Bosman, Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands
Ralf F. A. Cox, University of Groningen, the Netherlands
Maroesjka van Nieuwenhuijzen, VU University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Andrew Jahoda, University of Glasgow, UK

Abstract: Social interactions between staff and clients with an intellectual disability contain synchronized turn-taking patterns. Synchrony can increase rapport and cooperation between individuals. This study investigated whether verbal interactional dominance and balance, an indication of attunement between staff and clients with ID, are associated with synchrony of turn-taking patterns during staff-client interactions and whether the level of dominance and balance is related to the observed quality of the social interactions. Nineteen staff members video-recorded a social interaction with one of their clients in which the client asked for support. The recordings were analyzed using Cross Recurrence Quantification Analysis and Initiative Response Analysis. Fifteen staff observers as well as client observers completed a questionnaire on the quality of the video-recorded interactions. Staff and clients” patterns of verbal interactional dominance and balance were associated with the synchrony of their turn-taking behaviors. Staff’s dominance was associated with a higher level of synchrony of turn taking, whereas client”s dominance was associated with a lower level of synchrony. The patterns of verbal interactional dominance and balance were associated with staff observer reports about the quality of the interactions. The study suggested that staff and clients have a tendency to be sensitive to different aspects of interactions, which in turn may have different functions.

Keywords: staff-client interactions, intellectual disabilities, social interactions, non-verbal communication, synchronization, dominance, recurrence analysis