Researchers have examined the role of gesture in signal presentation, but few have investigated how gestures differ in their communicative capacity. In this study, we investigated the relative comprehension of metamorphic, deictic, beat, and iconic gestures (McNeill, 1985). A sample of natural communicative gestures was acquired from social observation and then filmed in a laboratory setting in five to eight second clips. Sixty-five undergraduate student participants viewed each gesture without sound and determined within a three second period if a transcript matched or did not match the presented gesture. Each participant then completed tests of verbal fluency, mental rotation and symbol matching. Results indicated an above-chance identification of overall gesture type. Iconic gestures were correctly identified significantly more often than other gesture types. Results lead us to support McNeill’s theory that gestures supplement spoken language, but we discuss interpretations of iconic gestures as independent communicators.
|Keywords:||Cognitive Psychology, Nonverbal Communication, Gesture, Language|
Research Assistant, Psychological Sciences, Loyola University New Orleans, New Orleans, LA, USA
Associate Professor, Psychological Sciences, Loyola University New Orleans, New Orleans, LA, USA
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