Focusing in Dialog
by Grosz, Barbara J.
Technical Note 166
Institution: AI Center, SRI International
Address: 333 Ravenswood Ave, Menlo Park, CA 94025
When two people talk, they focus their attention on only a small portion of what each of them knows or believes. Both what gets said and how it gets interpreted depend on a shared understanding of this narrowing of attention to a small highlighted portion of what is known. One of the effects of understanding an utterance is to be focused on certain entities (both relationships and objects) from a particular perspective. This paper examines focusing in dialog, discusses focusing mechanisms based on domain structure clues, and, from this perspective, indicates future research problems entailed in modeling the focusing process more generally.