You are here: Home Departments Neurobiology of Language News The role of beat gesture and pitch accent in semantic processing

Neurobiology of Language -

The role of beat gesture and pitch accent in semantic processing

In face-to-face communication, speakers often emphasize information with verbal (e.g., pitch accent, clefts) and nonverbal cues (e.g., hand gestures, facial expressions). The present study investigated how listeners integrate pitch accent and beat gesture (i.e., small baton-like hand movements produced along with the rhythmical pulsation of speech) to comprehend a message.
The role of beat gesture and pitch accent in semantic processing

'Statuesque Obama' by Steve Jurvetson

Brain activities were recorded as participants watched videos of a person gesturing and speaking simultaneously. The results indicate that a message can be comprehended more easily when it was spoken with pitch accent or when it was accompanied by a beat gesture than when it was in plain pitch with no accompanying gestures. In addition, beat gesture can enhance speech comprehension more deeply than non-beat like hand movement, so beat gesture plays a unique role in helping listeners to comprehend the message associated with the beat gesture.

Wang, L., & Chu, M. (2013). The role of beat gesture and pitch accent in semantic processing: An ERP study. Neuropsychologia

Neurobiology of Language

What is the neurobiological infrastructure for the uniquely human capacity for language? The focus of the Neurobiology of Language Department is on the study of language production, language comprehension, and language acquisition from a cognitive neuroscience perspective. Read more...

Director: Peter Hagoort

Secretary: Carolin Lorenz

 

Flag NL Het talige brein