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Conversation analysts will be listening in at New Scientist Live

Loughborough University's Professor Liz Stokoe and colleagues from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) will be analysing conversations at New Scientist Live in London’s Excel Centre this week.

Visitors will have their interactions analysed as they happen through a new format called the ‘Conversational Rollercoaster’, a concept developed by Loughborough and QMUL. 

Whilst visitors join in spontaneous discussions hosted in a pop-up-talk-show, the analysts will be hard at work recording, studying and presenting research findings about conversations as they talk. Usually conversation analysts can take months or even years to complete their research, but the new idea is designed to speed up this process.

Liz Stokoe, Professor of Social Interaction at Loughborough University, said: The idea is to reveal the amazing ways people use all the time to manage the unpredictability of their everyday interactions - so they can join in and talk, then step off the 'conversational rollercoaster' and see a snapshot of the amazingly intricate thing they just did effortlessly - without even thinking about it - in a new light."

Saul Albert, main organiser from Queen Mary University of London, added: "It's like a mix between a live reality talk-show and football commentary, where you have all this spontaneous action in the conversation, then immediate expert analysis - except hopefully with fewer sports clichés.”

Liz Stokoe will also be giving a talk at the event and investigating why studying talk scientifically is crucial to understanding how we use it as a technology within day to day life.

The Conversational Rollercoaster will be at New Scientist Live at the Excel Centre from 22-25 September. Liz’s talk will take place at the Technology Stage on Sunday 25 September at 10:30am.