This study investigates interpersonal processes underlying dialog by comparing two approaches, interactive alignment and interpersonal synergy, and assesses how they predict collective performance in a joint task. While the interactive alignment approach highlights imitative patterns between interlocutors, the synergy approach points to structural organization at the level of the interaction—such as complementary patterns straddling speech turns and interlocutors. We develop a general, quantitative method to assess lexical, prosodic, and speech/pause patterns related to the two approaches and their impact on collective performance in a corpus of task-oriented conversations. The results show statistical presence of patterns relevant for both approaches. However, synergetic aspects of dialog provide the best statistical predictors of collective performance and adding aspects of the alignment approach does not improve the model. This suggests that structural organization at the level of the interaction plays a crucial role in task-oriented conversations, possibly constraining and integrating processes related to alignment.
Fusaroli and Tylén’s study informs the MARIO Approach through their description of the synergy approach to dialog. Through an understanding of the nuances of a synergistic approach, MARIO Educators are able to foster deep connections with their students, resulting in greater outcomes for both.