Gestures and phases: the dynamics of speech-hand communication

Article


Treffner, Paul, Peter, Mira and Kleidon, Mark. 2008. "Gestures and phases: the dynamics of speech-hand communication ." Ecological Psychology. 20 (1), pp. 32-64. https://doi.org/10.1080/10407410701766643
Article Title

Gestures and phases: the dynamics of speech-hand communication

ERA Journal ID6235
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsTreffner, Paul (Author), Peter, Mira (Author) and Kleidon, Mark (Author)
Journal TitleEcological Psychology
Journal Citation20 (1), pp. 32-64
Number of Pages33
Year2008
Place of PublicationPhiladelphia, PA, USA
ISSN1040-7413
1532-6969
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/10407410701766643
Web Address (URL)http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/10407410701766643
Abstract

We investigated how a listener's perceived meaning of a spoken sentence is influenced by the relative timing between a speaker's speech and accompanying hand gestures. Participants viewed a computer-animated character who uttered the phrase, 'Put the book there now.' while executing a simple right-handed beat gesture whose location relative to the utterance was precisely controlled in a frame-by-frame fashion. The participant's task consisted of making a judgment about two related aspects of the actor's perceived speech: (a) Which word was emphasized? and (b) How clear was the emphasis? That is, did it make sense? The results revealed that the perceived emphasis was determined by the timing (phasing) of the speaker's hand gesture. Furthermore, the clarity of the perceived emphasis (i.e., meaningfulness) was influenced by the affordances in the immediate environment of the speaker. Discussion addresses the primacy of ostensive specification and gesture in communicative events, the dynamics of speech-hand coordination during both actual and virtual dialogue, and the role of environmental affordances in grounding informative communicative acts in the ecology of organism-environment dynamics.

Keywordsnon-verbal communication; hand gestures; speech language coordination; phonology
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020470410. Phonetics and speech science
520406. Sensory processes, perception and performance
520499. Cognitive and computational psychology not elsewhere classified
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Byline AffiliationsMetaffordance Consultants, Australia
Division of Information and Communication Technology Services
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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