The importance of intonation during perceptions of non-understanding during full and partial readback responses in radio communication

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    Abstract

    The readback/hearback protocol is a communicative procedure used to minimize the risk of communication errors over the radio or telephone in high-risk environments. This protocol requires the receiver of a verbal instruction to repeat or 'read back' the instruction to the sender to ensure it has been heard correctly. It is a common assumption that a correct readback confirms that a receiver has understood an instruction. However, an operator can accurately repeat an instruction while concealing their lack of understanding of the instruction. Previous research has highlighted the importance of intonation as a prosodic cue to aid in the detection of non-understandings during readback/hearback exchanges over the radio. As deviations from the standard readback procedure occur frequently, it is unclear whether intonation is equally as useful in the detection of non-understandings when contained within a partial readback response. Using an international sample of hydroelectric power generation operators, the current study assessed whether the use of a full readback leads to a greater perception that the receiver has understood the instruction compared to a partial readback. It also examined the utility of intonation during perceptions of non-understanding upon hearing a full readback versus partial readback response. The results indicated that full readback responses attracted a greater assumption of understanding compared to partial readback responses (but only for native English speakers), and that intonation was only used to detect non-understandings during partial readback responses that lacked the semantic information contained within a full readback. Practical implications of the findings are discussed.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publication2014 International Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, HFES 2014
    Place of PublicationSanta Monica, CA
    PublisherHuman Factors and Ergonomics Society
    Pages395-399
    Number of pages5
    Volume58
    ISBN (Electronic)9780945289456
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    Event58th International Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, HFES 2014 - Chicago, United States
    Duration: 27 Oct 201431 Oct 2014

    Publication series

    NameHuman Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting Proceedings
    PublisherHuman Factors and Ergonomics Society
    ISSN (Print)1541-9312

    Other

    Other58th International Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, HFES 2014
    CountryUnited States
    CityChicago
    Period27/10/1431/10/14

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