Gestures, pauses and speech: An experimental investigation of the effects of changing social context on their precise temporal relationships

Geoffrey Beattie, Rima Aboudan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Hand movements and speech are obviously closely related, as anyone who has ever watched another person alone in a telephone box will know. Here, in the absence of any audience, people often still gesture wildly. Indeed there is evidence that when such gestures are interfered with by asking people to talk while keeping their arms folded, there is a marked change in speech content, with a significant increase in expressions denoting spatial relationships, and a significant reduction in the use of demonstratives, as well as a significant increase in the proportion of time spent pausing (Graham and Heywood 1976). Speech and gesture are closely connected, but what exactly is the nature of this relationship? McNeill (1985) argues that 'gestures and speech are parts of the same psychological structure and share a computational stage. The argument is based on the very close temporal, semantic, pragmatic, pathological, and developmental parallels between speech and referential and discourseoriented gestures' (McNeill 1985: 350). It is important at the outset to point out that McNeill employs a very broad concept o
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-272
Number of pages34
JournalSemiotica
Volume99
Issue number3-4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1994

Keywords

  • Psychology

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