Marlijn ter Bekke

Publications

Displaying 1 - 6 of 6
  • Ter Bekke, M., Drijvers, L., & Holler, J. (2024). Hand gestures have predictive potential during conversation: An investigation of the timing of gestures in relation to speech. Cognitive Science, 48(1): e13407. doi:10.1111/cogs.13407.

    Abstract

    During face-to-face conversation, transitions between speaker turns are incredibly fast. These fast turn exchanges seem to involve next speakers predicting upcoming semantic information, such that next turn planning can begin before a current turn is complete. Given that face-to-face conversation also involves the use of communicative bodily signals, an important question is how bodily signals such as co-speech hand gestures play into these processes of prediction and fast responding. In this corpus study, we found that hand gestures that depict or refer to semantic information started before the corresponding information in speech, which held both for the onset of the gesture as a whole, as well as the onset of the stroke (the most meaningful part of the gesture). This early timing potentially allows listeners to use the gestural information to predict the corresponding semantic information to be conveyed in speech. Moreover, we provided further evidence that questions with gestures got faster responses than questions without gestures. However, we found no evidence for the idea that how much a gesture precedes its lexical affiliate (i.e., its predictive potential) relates to how fast responses were given. The findings presented here highlight the importance of the temporal relation between speech and gesture and help to illuminate the potential mechanisms underpinning multimodal language processing during face-to-face conversation.
  • Ter Bekke, M., Drijvers, L., & Holler, J. (2024). Gestures speed up responses to questions. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. Advance online publication. doi:10.1080/23273798.2024.2314021.

    Abstract

    Most language use occurs in face-to-face conversation, which involves rapid turn-taking. Seeing communicative bodily signals in addition to hearing speech may facilitate such fast responding. We tested whether this holds for co-speech hand gestures by investigating whether these gestures speed up button press responses to questions. Sixty native speakers of Dutch viewed videos in which an actress asked yes/no-questions, either with or without a corresponding iconic hand gesture. Participants answered the questions as quickly and accurately as possible via button press. Gestures did not impact response accuracy, but crucially, gestures sped up responses, suggesting that response planning may be finished earlier when gestures are seen. How much gestures sped up responses was not related to their timing in the question or their timing with respect to the corresponding information in speech. Overall, these results are in line with the idea that multimodality may facilitate fast responding during face-to-face conversation.
  • Frey, V., De Mulder, H. N. M., Ter Bekke, M., Struiksma, M. E., Van Berkum, J. J. A., & Buskens, V. (2022). Do self-talk phrases affect behavior in ultimatum games? Mind & Society, 21, 89-119. doi:10.1007/s11299-022-00286-8.

    Abstract

    The current study investigates whether self-talk phrases can influence behavior in Ultimatum Games. In our three self-talk treatments, participants were instructed to tell themselves (i) to keep their own interests in mind, (ii) to also think of the other person, or (iii) to take some time to contemplate their decision. We investigate how such so-called experimenter-determined strategic self-talk phrases affect behavior and emotions in comparison to a control treatment without instructed self-talk. The results demonstrate that other-focused self-talk can nudge proposers towards fair behavior, as offers were higher in this group than in the other conditions. For responders, self-talk tended to increase acceptance rates of unfair offers as compared to the condition without self-talk. This effect is significant for both other-focused and contemplation-inducing self-talk but not for self-focused self-talk. In the self-focused condition, responders were most dissatisfied with unfair offers. These findings suggest that use of self-talk can increase acceptance rates in responders, and that focusing on personal interests can undermine this effect as it negatively impacts the responders’ emotional experience. In sum, our study shows that strategic self-talk interventions can be used to affect behavior in bargaining situations.

    Additional information

    data and analysis files
  • Ter Bekke, M., Özyürek, A., & Ünal, E. (2022). Speaking but not gesturing predicts event memory: A cross-linguistic comparison. Language and Cognition, 14(3), 362-384. doi:10.1017/langcog.2022.3.

    Abstract

    Every day people see, describe, and remember motion events. However, the relation between multimodal encoding of motion events in speech and gesture, and memory is not yet fully understood. Moreover, whether language typology modulates this relation remains to be tested. This study investigates whether the type of motion event information (path or manner) mentioned in speech and gesture predicts which information is remembered and whether this varies across speakers of typologically different languages. Dutch- and Turkish-speakers watched and described motion events and completed a surprise recognition memory task. For both Dutch- and Turkish-speakers, manner memory was at chance level. Participants who mentioned path in speech during encoding were more accurate at detecting changes to the path in the memory task. The relation between mentioning path in speech and path memory did not vary cross-linguistically. Finally, the co-speech gesture did not predict memory above mentioning path in speech. These findings suggest that how speakers describe a motion event in speech is more important than the typology of the speakers’ native language in predicting motion event memory. The motion event videos are available for download for future research at https://osf.io/p8cas/.

    Additional information

    S1866980822000035sup001.docx
  • Ter Bekke, M., Drijvers, L., & Holler, J. (2020). The predictive potential of hand gestures during conversation: An investigation of the timing of gestures in relation to speech. In Proceedings of the 7th GESPIN - Gesture and Speech in Interaction Conference. Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology.

    Abstract

    In face-to-face conversation, recipients might use the bodily movements of the speaker (e.g. gestures) to facilitate language processing. It has been suggested that one way through which this facilitation may happen is prediction. However, for this to be possible, gestures would need to precede speech, and it is unclear whether this is true during natural conversation.
    In a corpus of Dutch conversations, we annotated hand gestures that represent semantic information and occurred during questions, and the word(s) which corresponded most closely to the gesturally depicted meaning. Thus, we tested whether representational gestures temporally precede their lexical affiliates. Further, to see whether preceding gestures may indeed facilitate language processing, we asked whether the gesture-speech asynchrony predicts the response time to the question the gesture is part of.
    Gestures and their strokes (most meaningful movement component) indeed preceded the corresponding lexical information, thus demonstrating their predictive potential. However, while questions with gestures got faster responses than questions without, there was no evidence that questions with larger gesture-speech asynchronies get faster responses. These results suggest that gestures indeed have the potential to facilitate predictive language processing, but further analyses on larger datasets are needed to test for links between asynchrony and processing advantages.
  • Ter Bekke, M., Ozyurek, A., & Ünal, E. (2019). Speaking but not gesturing predicts motion event memory within and across languages. In A. Goel, C. Seifert, & C. Freksa (Eds.), Proceedings of the 41st Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2019) (pp. 2940-2946). Montreal, QB: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    In everyday life, people see, describe and remember motion events. We tested whether the type of motion event information (path or manner) encoded in speech and gesture predicts which information is remembered and if this varies across speakers of typologically different languages. We focus on intransitive motion events (e.g., a woman running to a tree) that are described differently in speech and co-speech gesture across languages, based on how these languages typologically encode manner and path information (Kita & Özyürek, 2003; Talmy, 1985). Speakers of Dutch (n = 19) and Turkish (n = 22) watched and described motion events. With a surprise (i.e. unexpected) recognition memory task, memory for manner and path components of these events was measured. Neither Dutch nor Turkish speakers’ memory for manner went above chance levels. However, we found a positive relation between path speech and path change detection: participants who described the path during encoding were more accurate at detecting changes to the path of an event during the memory task. In addition, the relation between path speech and path memory changed with native language: for Dutch speakers encoding path in speech was related to improved path memory, but for Turkish speakers no such relation existed. For both languages, co-speech gesture did not predict memory speakers. We discuss the implications of these findings for our understanding of the relations between speech, gesture, type of encoding in language and memory.

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