Why do we gesture when we speak? The Cognitive Psychology of Speech-Related Gesture offers answers to this question while introducing readers to the huge interdisciplinary field of gesture. Drawing on ideas from cognitive psychology, this book highlights key debates in gesture research alongside advocating new approaches to conventional thinking.
Beginning with the definition of the notion of communication, this book explores experimental approaches to gesture production and comprehension, the possible gestural origin of language and its implication for brain organization, and the development of gestural communication from infancy to childhood. Through these discussions the author presents the idea that speech-related gestures are not just peripheral phenomena, but rather a key function of the cognitive architecture, and should consequently be studied alongside traditional concepts in cognitive psychology.
The Cognitive Psychology of Speech Related Gesture offers a broad overview which will be essential reading for all students of gesture research and language, as well as speech therapists, teachers and communication practitioners. It will also be of interest to anybody who is curious about why we move our bodies when we talk.
Table of Contents
Foreword 1. Introduction: Matters of terminology and of philosophy. What is gestural communication about?. Gestures, actions, movements, signs. Analyses of communication: codes, inferences, social influences. Why are cognitive psychologists interested in gestural communication? The diversity of disciplines. Cognitive approaches: the nature of thought. Mental mechanisms. Research questions – Plan. 2. Speaking hands: inventory of forms and functions. Pioneers. Wilhelm Wundt (1900): gestures as mental representations. David Efron (1941): discourse marking by hand movements. Nonverbal behaviour, a wide-ranging topic. Current perspectives. Gesticulation and autonomous gestures: break or continuity? Gestures of monologue and dialogue. Gesture infancy. Gesture impairments in case of brain damages. Beyond "chirocentrism" 3. Ghosts in the machine : models of gesture processing. Translucent architectures: gestures reveal thought. Adam Kendon and the ethnography of communicative action. Susan Goldin-Meadow: gesture as a window on the mind. Information processing models. Dynamical models. Pragmatic approaches. Conclusions 4. Production mechanisms. Do the speakers take perspective of their addressee when they gesture? Social context. Common ground. Why do some spoken utterances involve gestures whereas others do not? Activation of visuo-spatial and motor imagery. Problems in lexical access and in conceptualization. Performing gestures or not: effects on speech production. How do spoken and gestural production co-operate? Physical characteristics of oral and manual movements. Temporal relationships between gestures and speech. Conclusions: cooperative or competitive relationships? 5. The impact of gestures on speech comprehension. Is message comprehension influenced by the gestures of the speaker? How visual and auditory information is integrated in verbal comprehension? Electrophysiological approaches. 6. Evolution and neuropsychology of gestures. Does human speech stem out manual skills? Does gestures and speech involve the same brain regions? Manual preferences in speech-related gestures. Gesture use by persons suffering from brain lesions. Neuroimagery of gestural communication. 7. The development of gestural communication. How do babies learn to read minds and to communicate their intentions? What is the role of gestures in language acquisition? Gesture use and atypical language development. 8. Final remarks
Pierre Feyereisen is Honorary Research Director of the Fund for Scientific Research – FNRS, Psychological Sciences Research Institute in Belgium.