Judith Holler

Publications

Displaying 1 - 62 of 62
  • Humphries, S., Holler*, J., Crawford, T., & Poliakoff*, E. (in press). Co-speech gestures are a window into the effects of Parkinson’s disease on action representations. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

    Abstract

    -* indicates joint senior authors - Parkinson’s disease impairs motor function and cognition, which together affect language and communication. Co-speech gestures are a form of language-related actions that provide imagistic depictions of the speech content they accompany. Gestures rely on visual and motor imagery, but it is unknown whether gesture representations require the involvement of intact neural sensory and motor systems. We tested this hypothesis with a fine-grained analysis of co-speech action gestures in Parkinson’s disease. 37 people with Parkinson’s disease and 33 controls described two scenes featuring actions which varied in their inherent degree of bodily motion. In addition to the perspective of action gestures (gestural viewpoint/first- vs. third-person perspective), we analysed how Parkinson’s patients represent manner (how something/someone moves) and path information (where something/someone moves to) in gesture, depending on the degree of bodily motion involved in the action depicted. We replicated an earlier finding that people with Parkinson’s disease are less likely to gesture about actions from a first-person perspective – preferring instead to depict actions gesturally from a third-person perspective – and show that this effect is modulated by the degree of bodily motion in the actions being depicted. When describing high motion actions, the Parkinson’s group were specifically impaired in depicting manner information in gesture and their use of third-person path-only gestures was significantly increased. Gestures about low motion actions were relatively spared. These results inform our understanding of the neural and cognitive basis of gesture production by providing neuropsychological evidence that action gesture production relies on intact motor network function.

    Additional information

    Open data and code
  • Pronina, M., Hübscher, J., Holler, J., & Prieto, P. (in press). Interactional training interventions boost children’s expressive pragmatic abilities: Evidence from a novel multidimensional testing approach. Cognitive Development.
  • Bosker, H. R., Peeters, D., & Holler, J. (2020). How visual cues to speech rate influence speech perception. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 73(10), 1523-1536. doi:10.1177/1747021820914564.

    Abstract

    Spoken words are highly variable and therefore listeners interpret speech sounds relative to the surrounding acoustic context, such as the speech rate of a preceding sentence. For instance, a vowel midway between short /ɑ/ and long /a:/ in Dutch is perceived as short /ɑ/ in the context of preceding slow speech, but as long /a:/ if preceded by a fast context. Despite the well-established influence of visual articulatory cues on speech comprehension, it remains unclear whether visual cues to speech rate also influence subsequent spoken word recognition. In two ‘Go Fish’-like experiments, participants were presented with audio-only (auditory speech + fixation cross), visual-only (mute videos of talking head), and audiovisual (speech + videos) context sentences, followed by ambiguous target words containing vowels midway between short /ɑ/ and long /a:/. In Experiment 1, target words were always presented auditorily, without visual articulatory cues. Although the audio-only and audiovisual contexts induced a rate effect (i.e., more long /a:/ responses after fast contexts), the visual-only condition did not. When, in Experiment 2, target words were presented audiovisually, rate effects were observed in all three conditions, including visual-only. This suggests that visual cues to speech rate in a context sentence influence the perception of following visual target cues (e.g., duration of lip aperture), which at an audiovisual integration stage bias participants’ target categorization responses. These findings contribute to a better understanding of how what we see influences what we hear.
  • Macuch Silva, V., Holler, J., Ozyurek, A., & Roberts, S. G. (2020). Multimodality and the origin of a novel communication system in face-to-face interaction. Royal Society Open Science, 7: 182056. doi:10.1098/rsos.182056.

    Abstract

    Face-to-face communication is multimodal at its core: it consists of a combination of vocal and visual signalling. However, current evidence suggests that, in the absence of an established communication system, visual signalling, especially in the form of visible gesture, is a more powerful form of communication than vocalisation, and therefore likely to have played a primary role in the emergence of human language. This argument is based on experimental evidence of how vocal and visual modalities (i.e., gesture) are employed to communicate about familiar concepts when participants cannot use their existing languages. To investigate this further, we introduce an experiment where pairs of participants performed a referential communication task in which they described unfamiliar stimuli in order to reduce reliance on conventional signals. Visual and auditory stimuli were described in three conditions: using visible gestures only, using non-linguistic vocalisations only and given the option to use both (multimodal communication). The results suggest that even in the absence of conventional signals, gesture is a more powerful mode of communication compared to vocalisation, but that there are also advantages to multimodality compared to using gesture alone. Participants with an option to produce multimodal signals had comparable accuracy to those using only gesture, but gained an efficiency advantage. The analysis of the interactions between participants showed that interactants developed novel communication systems for unfamiliar stimuli by deploying different modalities flexibly to suit their needs and by taking advantage of multimodality when required.
  • Ripperda, J., Drijvers, L., & Holler, J. (2020). Speeding up the detection of non-iconic and iconic gestures (SPUDNIG): A toolkit for the automatic detection of hand movements and gestures in video data. Behavior Research Methods, 52(4), 1783-1794. doi:10.3758/s13428-020-01350-2.

    Abstract

    In human face-to-face communication, speech is frequently accompanied by visual signals, especially communicative hand gestures. Analyzing these visual signals requires detailed manual annotation of video data, which is often a labor-intensive and time-consuming process. To facilitate this process, we here present SPUDNIG (SPeeding Up the Detection of Non-iconic and Iconic Gestures), a tool to automatize the detection and annotation of hand movements in video data. We provide a detailed description of how SPUDNIG detects hand movement initiation and termination, as well as open-source code and a short tutorial on an easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI) of our tool. We then provide a proof-of-principle and validation of our method by comparing SPUDNIG’s output to manual annotations of gestures by a human coder. While the tool does not entirely eliminate the need of a human coder (e.g., for false positives detection), our results demonstrate that SPUDNIG can detect both iconic and non-iconic gestures with very high accuracy, and could successfully detect all iconic gestures in our validation dataset. Importantly, SPUDNIG’s output can directly be imported into commonly used annotation tools such as ELAN and ANVIL. We therefore believe that SPUDNIG will be highly relevant for researchers studying multimodal communication due to its annotations significantly accelerating the analysis of large video corpora.

    Additional information

    data and materials
  • Schubotz, L., Holler, J., Drijvers, L., & Ozyurek, A. (2020). Aging and working memory modulate the ability to benefit from visible speech and iconic gestures during speech-in-noise comprehension. Psychological Research. Advance online publication. doi:10.1007/s00426-020-01363-8.

    Abstract

    When comprehending speech-in-noise (SiN), younger and older adults benefit from seeing the speaker’s mouth, i.e. visible speech. Younger adults additionally benefit from manual iconic co-speech gestures. Here, we investigate to what extent younger and older adults benefit from perceiving both visual articulators while comprehending SiN, and whether this is modulated by working memory and inhibitory control. Twenty-eight younger and 28 older adults performed a word recognition task in three visual contexts: mouth blurred (speech-only), visible speech, or visible speech + iconic gesture. The speech signal was either clear or embedded in multitalker babble. Additionally, there were two visual-only conditions (visible speech, visible speech + gesture). Accuracy levels for both age groups were higher when both visual articulators were present compared to either one or none. However, older adults received a significantly smaller benefit than younger adults, although they performed equally well in speech-only and visual-only word recognition. Individual differences in verbal working memory and inhibitory control partly accounted for age-related performance differences. To conclude, perceiving iconic gestures in addition to visible speech improves younger and older adults’ comprehension of SiN. Yet, the ability to benefit from this additional visual information is modulated by age and verbal working memory. Future research will have to show whether these findings extend beyond the single word level.

    Additional information

    supplementary material
  • Sekine, K., Schoechl, C., Mulder, K., Holler, J., Kelly, S., Furman, R., & Ozyurek, A. (2020). Evidence for children's online integration of simultaneous information from speech and iconic gestures: An ERP study. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 35(10), 1283-1294. doi:10.1080/23273798.2020.1737719.

    Abstract

    Children perceive iconic gestures, along with speech they hear. Previous studies have shown that children integrate information from both modalities. Yet it is not known whether children can integrate both types of information simultaneously as soon as they are available as adults do or processes them separately initially and integrate them later. Using electrophysiological measures, we examined the online neurocognitive processing of gesture-speech integration in 6- to 7-year-old children. We focused on the N400 event-related potentials component which is modulated by semantic integration load. Children watched video clips of matching or mismatching gesture-speech combinations, which varied the semantic integration load. The ERPs showed that the amplitude of the N400 was larger in the mismatching condition than in the matching condition. This finding provides the first neural evidence that by the ages of 6 or 7, children integrate multimodal semantic information in an online fashion comparable to that of adults.
  • 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.
  • Holler, J., & Levinson, S. C. (2019). Multimodal language processing in human communication. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 23(8), 639-652. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2019.05.006.

    Abstract

    Multiple layers of visual (and vocal) signals, plus their different onsets and offsets, represent a significant semantic and temporal binding problem during face-to-face conversation. Despite this complex unification process, multimodal messages appear to be processed faster than unimodal messages. Multimodal gestalt recognition and multilevel prediction are proposed to play a crucial role in facilitating multimodal language processing. The basis of the processing mechanisms involved in multimodal language comprehension is hypothesized to be domain general, coopted for communication, and refined with domain-specific characteristics. A new, situated framework for understanding human language processing is called for that takes into consideration the multilayered, multimodal nature of language and its production and comprehension in conversational interaction requiring fast processing.
  • Schubotz, L., Ozyurek, A., & Holler, J. (2019). Age-related differences in multimodal recipient design: Younger, but not older adults, adapt speech and co-speech gestures to common ground. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 34(2), 254-271. doi:10.1080/23273798.2018.1527377.

    Abstract

    Speakers can adapt their speech and co-speech gestures based on knowledge shared with an addressee (common ground-based recipient design). Here, we investigate whether these adaptations are modulated by the speaker’s age and cognitive abilities. Younger and older participants narrated six short comic stories to a same-aged addressee. Half of each story was known to both participants, the other half only to the speaker. The two age groups did not differ in terms of the number of words and narrative events mentioned per narration, or in terms of gesture frequency, gesture rate, or percentage of events expressed multimodally. However, only the younger participants reduced the amount of verbal and gestural information when narrating mutually known as opposed to novel story content. Age-related differences in cognitive abilities did not predict these differences in common ground-based recipient design. The older participants’ communicative behaviour may therefore also reflect differences in social or pragmatic goals.

    Additional information

    plcp_a_1527377_sm4510.pdf
  • Holler, J., Kendrick, K. H., & Levinson, S. C. (2018). Processing language in face-to-face conversation: Questions with gestures get faster responses. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 25(5), 1900-1908. doi:10.3758/s13423-017-1363-z.

    Abstract

    The home of human language use is face-to-face interaction, a context in which communicative exchanges are characterised not only by bodily signals accompanying what is being said but also by a pattern of alternating turns at talk. This transition between turns is astonishingly fast—typically a mere 200-ms elapse between a current and a next speaker’s contribution—meaning that comprehending, producing, and coordinating conversational contributions in time is a significant challenge. This begs the question of whether the additional information carried by bodily signals facilitates or hinders language processing in this time-pressured environment. We present analyses of multimodal conversations revealing that bodily signals appear to profoundly influence language processing in interaction: Questions accompanied by gestures lead to shorter turn transition times—that is, to faster responses—than questions without gestures, and responses come earlier when gestures end before compared to after the question turn has ended. These findings hold even after taking into account prosodic patterns and other visual signals, such as gaze. The empirical findings presented here provide a first glimpse of the role of the body in the psycholinguistic processes underpinning human communication
  • Hömke, P., Holler, J., & Levinson, S. C. (2018). Eye blinks are perceived as communicative signals in human face-to-face interaction. PLoS One, 13(12): e0208030. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0208030.

    Abstract

    In face-to-face communication, recurring intervals of mutual gaze allow listeners to provide speakers with visual feedback (e.g. nodding). Here, we investigate the potential feedback function of one of the subtlest of human movements—eye blinking. While blinking tends to be subliminal, the significance of mutual gaze in human interaction raises the question whether the interruption of mutual gaze through blinking may also be communicative. To answer this question, we developed a novel, virtual reality-based experimental paradigm, which enabled us to selectively manipulate blinking in a virtual listener, creating small differences in blink duration resulting in ‘short’ (208 ms) and ‘long’ (607 ms) blinks. We found that speakers unconsciously took into account the subtle differences in listeners’ blink duration, producing substantially shorter answers in response to long listener blinks. Our findings suggest that, in addition to physiological, perceptual and cognitive functions, listener blinks are also perceived as communicative signals, directly influencing speakers’ communicative behavior in face-to-face communication. More generally, these findings may be interpreted as shedding new light on the evolutionary origins of mental-state signaling, which is a crucial ingredient for achieving mutual understanding in everyday social interaction.

    Additional information

    Supporting information
  • Holler, J., & Bavelas, J. (2017). Multi-modal communication of common ground: A review of social functions. In R. B. Church, M. W. Alibali, & S. D. Kelly (Eds.), Why gesture? How the hands function in speaking, thinking and communicating (pp. 213-240). Amsterdam: Benjamins.

    Abstract

    Until recently, the literature on common ground depicted its influence as a purely verbal phenomenon. We review current research on how common ground influences gesture. With informative exceptions, most experiments found that speakers used fewer gestures as well as fewer words in common ground contexts; i.e., the gesture/word ratio did not change. Common ground often led to more poorly articulated gestures, which parallels its effect on words. These findings support the principle of recipient design as well as more specific social functions such as grounding, the given-new contract, and Grice’s maxims. However, conceptual pacts or linking old with new information may maintain the original form. All together, these findings implicate gesture-speech ensembles rather than isolated effects on gestures alone.
  • Hömke, P., Holler, J., & Levinson, S. C. (2017). Eye blinking as addressee feedback in face-to-face conversation. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 50, 54-70. doi:10.1080/08351813.2017.1262143.

    Abstract

    Does blinking function as a type of feedback in conversation? To address this question, we built a corpus of Dutch conversations, identified short and long addressee blinks during extended turns, and measured their occurrence relative to the end of turn constructional units (TCUs), the location where feedback typically occurs. Addressee blinks were indeed timed to the end of TCUs. Also, long blinks were more likely than short blinks to occur during mutual gaze, with nods or continuers, and their occurrence was restricted to sequential contexts in which signaling understanding was particularly relevant, suggesting a special signaling capacity of long blinks.
  • Kendrick, K. H., & Holler, J. (2017). Gaze direction signals response preference in conversation. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 50(1), 12-32. doi:10.1080/08351813.2017.1262120.

    Abstract

    In this article, we examine gaze direction in responses to polar questions using both quantitative and conversation analytic (CA) methods. The data come from a novel corpus of conversations in which participants wore eye-tracking glasses to obtain direct measures of their eye movements. The results show that while most preferred responses are produced with gaze toward the questioner, most dispreferred responses are produced with gaze aversion. We further demonstrate that gaze aversion by respondents can occasion self-repair by questioners in the transition space between turns, indicating that the relationship between gaze direction and preference is more than a mere statistical association. We conclude that gaze direction in responses to polar questions functions as a signal of response preference. Data are in American, British, and Canadian English.

    Additional information

    hrls_a_1262120_sm9379.pdf
  • Holler, J., Kendrick, K. H., Casillas, M., & Levinson, S. C. (Eds.). (2016). Turn-Taking in Human Communicative Interaction. Lausanne: Frontiers Media. doi:10.3389/978-2-88919-825-2.

    Abstract

    The core use of language is in face-to-face conversation. This is characterized by rapid turn-taking. This turn-taking poses a number central puzzles for the psychology of language. Consider, for example, that in large corpora the gap between turns is on the order of 100 to 300 ms, but the latencies involved in language production require minimally between 600ms (for a single word) or 1500 ms (for as simple sentence). This implies that participants in conversation are predicting the ends of the incoming turn and preparing in advance. But how is this done? What aspects of this prediction are done when? What happens when the prediction is wrong? What stops participants coming in too early? If the system is running on prediction, why is there consistently a mode of 100 to 300 ms in response time? The timing puzzle raises further puzzles: it seems that comprehension must run parallel with the preparation for production, but it has been presumed that there are strict cognitive limitations on more than one central process running at a time. How is this bottleneck overcome? Far from being 'easy' as some psychologists have suggested, conversation may be one of the most demanding cognitive tasks in our everyday lives. Further questions naturally arise: how do children learn to master this demanding task, and what is the developmental trajectory in this domain? Research shows that aspects of turn-taking such as its timing are remarkably stable across languages and cultures, but the word order of languages varies enormously. How then does prediction of the incoming turn work when the verb (often the informational nugget in a clause) is at the end? Conversely, how can production work fast enough in languages that have the verb at the beginning, thereby requiring early planning of the whole clause? What happens when one changes modality, as in sign languages -- with the loss of channel constraints is turn-taking much freer? And what about face-to-face communication amongst hearing individuals -- do gestures, gaze, and other body behaviors facilitate turn-taking? One can also ask the phylogenetic question: how did such a system evolve? There seem to be parallels (analogies) in duetting bird species, and in a variety of monkey species, but there is little evidence of anything like this among the great apes. All this constitutes a neglected set of problems at the heart of the psychology of language and of the language sciences. This research topic welcomes contributions from right across the board, for example from psycholinguists, developmental psychologists, students of dialogue and conversation analysis, linguists interested in the use of language, phoneticians, corpus analysts and comparative ethologists or psychologists. We welcome contributions of all sorts, for example original research papers, opinion pieces, and reviews of work in subfields that may not be fully understood in other subfields.
  • Humphries, S., Holler, J., Crawford, T. J., Herrera, E., & Poliakoff, E. (2016). A third-person perspective on co-speech action gestures in Parkinson’s disease. Cortex, 78, 44-54. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2016.02.009.

    Abstract

    A combination of impaired motor and cognitive function in Parkinson’s disease (PD) can impact on language and communication, with patients exhibiting a particular difficulty processing action verbs. Co-speech gestures embody a link between action and language and contribute significantly to communication in healthy people. Here, we investigated how co-speech gestures depicting actions are affected in PD, in particular with respect to the visual perspective—or the viewpoint – they depict. Gestures are closely related to mental imagery and motor simulations, but people with PD may be impaired in the way they simulate actions from a first-person perspective and may compensate for this by relying more on third-person visual features. We analysed the action-depicting gestures produced by mild-moderate PD patients and age-matched controls on an action description task and examined the relationship between gesture viewpoint, action naming, and performance on an action observation task (weight judgement). Healthy controls produced the majority of their action gestures from a first-person perspective, whereas PD patients produced a greater proportion of gestures produced from a third-person perspective. We propose that this reflects a compensatory reliance on third-person visual features in the simulation of actions in PD. Performance was also impaired in action naming and weight judgement, although this was unrelated to gesture viewpoint. Our findings provide a more comprehensive understanding of how action-language impairments in PD impact on action communication, on the cognitive underpinnings of this impairment, as well as elucidating the role of action simulation in gesture production
  • Rowbotham, S. J., Holler, J., Wearden, A., & Lloyd, D. M. (2016). I see how you feel: Recipients obtain additional information from speakers’ gestures about pain. Patient Education and Counseling, 99(8), 1333-1342. doi:10.1016/j.pec.2016.03.007.

    Abstract

    Objective Despite the need for effective pain communication, pain is difficult to verbalise. Co-speech gestures frequently add information about pain that is not contained in the accompanying speech. We explored whether recipients can obtain additional information from gestures about the pain that is being described. Methods Participants (n = 135) viewed clips of pain descriptions under one of four conditions: 1) Speech Only; 2) Speech and Gesture; 3) Speech, Gesture and Face; and 4) Speech, Gesture and Face plus Instruction (short presentation explaining the pain information that gestures can depict). Participants provided free-text descriptions of the pain that had been described. Responses were scored for the amount of information obtained from the original clips. Findings Participants in the Instruction condition obtained the most information, while those in the Speech Only condition obtained the least (all comparisons p<.001). Conclusions Gestures produced during pain descriptions provide additional information about pain that recipients are able to pick up without detriment to their uptake of spoken information. Practice implications Healthcare professionals may benefit from instruction in gestures to enhance uptake of information about patients’ pain experiences.
  • Holler, J., Kendrick, K. H., Casillas, M., & Levinson, S. C. (2015). Editorial: Turn-taking in human communicative interaction. Frontiers in Psychology, 6: 1919. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01919.
  • Holler, J., Kokal, I., Toni, I., Hagoort, P., Kelly, S. D., & Ozyurek, A. (2015). Eye’m talking to you: Speakers’ gaze direction modulates co-speech gesture processing in the right MTG. Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience, 10, 255-261. doi:10.1093/scan/nsu047.

    Abstract

    Recipients process information from speech and co-speech gestures, but it is currently unknown how this processing is influenced by the presence of other important social cues, especially gaze direction, a marker of communicative intent. Such cues may modulate neural activity in regions associated either with the processing of ostensive cues, such as eye gaze, or with the processing of semantic information, provided by speech and gesture. Participants were scanned (fMRI) while taking part in triadic communication involving two recipients and a speaker. The speaker uttered sentences that were and were not accompanied by complementary iconic gestures. Crucially, the speaker alternated her gaze direction, thus creating two recipient roles: addressed (direct gaze) vs unaddressed (averted gaze) recipient. The comprehension of Speech&Gesture relative to SpeechOnly utterances recruited middle occipital, middle temporal and inferior frontal gyri, bilaterally. The calcarine sulcus and posterior cingulate cortex were sensitive to differences between direct and averted gaze. Most importantly, Speech&Gesture utterances, but not SpeechOnly utterances, produced additional activity in the right middle temporal gyrus when participants were addressed. Marking communicative intent with gaze direction modulates the processing of speech–gesture utterances in cerebral areas typically associated with the semantic processing of multi-modal communicative acts.
  • Holler, J., & Kendrick, K. H. (2015). Unaddressed participants’ gaze in multi-person interaction: Optimizing recipiency. Frontiers in Psychology, 6: 98. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00098.

    Abstract

    One of the most intriguing aspects of human communication is its turn-taking system. It requires the ability to process on-going turns at talk while planning the next, and to launch this next turn without considerable overlap or delay. Recent research has investigated the eye movements of observers of dialogues to gain insight into how we process turns at talk. More specifically, this research has focused on the extent to which we are able to anticipate the end of current and the beginning of next turns. At the same time, there has been a call for shifting experimental paradigms exploring social-cognitive processes away from passive observation towards online processing. Here, we present research that responds to this call by situating state-of-the-art technology for tracking interlocutors’ eye movements within spontaneous, face-to-face conversation. Each conversation involved three native speakers of English. The analysis focused on question-response sequences involving just two of those participants, thus rendering the third momentarily unaddressed. Temporal analyses of the unaddressed participants’ gaze shifts from current to next speaker revealed that unaddressed participants are able to anticipate next turns, and moreover, that they often shift their gaze towards the next speaker before the current turn ends. However, an analysis of the complex structure of turns at talk revealed that the planning of these gaze shifts virtually coincides with the points at which the turns first become recog-nizable as possibly complete. We argue that the timing of these eye movements is governed by an organizational principle whereby unaddressed participants shift their gaze at a point that appears interactionally most optimal: It provides unaddressed participants with access to much of the visual, bodily behavior that accompanies both the current speaker’s and the next speaker’s turn, and it allows them to display recipiency with regard to both speakers’ turns.
  • Kelly, S., Healey, M., Ozyurek, A., & Holler, J. (2015). The processing of speech, gesture and action during language comprehension. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 22, 517-523. doi:10.3758/s13423-014-0681-7.

    Abstract

    Hand gestures and speech form a single integrated system of meaning during language comprehension, but is gesture processed with speech in a unique fashion? We had subjects watch multimodal videos that presented auditory (words) and visual (gestures and actions on objects) information. Half of the subjects related the audio information to a written prime presented before the video, and the other half related the visual information to the written prime. For half of the multimodal video stimuli, the audio and visual information contents were congruent, and for the other half, they were incongruent. For all subjects, stimuli in which the gestures and actions were incongruent with the speech produced more errors and longer response times than did stimuli that were congruent, but this effect was less prominent for speech-action stimuli than for speech-gesture stimuli. However, subjects focusing on visual targets were more accurate when processing actions than gestures. These results suggest that although actions may be easier to process than gestures, gestures may be more tightly tied to the processing of accompanying speech.
  • Peeters, D., Chu, M., Holler, J., Hagoort, P., & Ozyurek, A. (2015). Electrophysiological and kinematic correlates of communicative intent in the planning and production of pointing gestures and speech. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 27(12), 2352-2368. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_00865.

    Abstract

    In everyday human communication, we often express our communicative intentions by manually pointing out referents in the material world around us to an addressee, often in tight synchronization with referential speech. This study investigated whether and how the kinematic form of index finger pointing gestures is shaped by the gesturer's communicative intentions and how this is modulated by the presence of concurrently produced speech. Furthermore, we explored the neural mechanisms underpinning the planning of communicative pointing gestures and speech. Two experiments were carried out in which participants pointed at referents for an addressee while the informativeness of their gestures and speech was varied. Kinematic and electrophysiological data were recorded online. It was found that participants prolonged the duration of the stroke and poststroke hold phase of their gesture to be more communicative, in particular when the gesture was carrying the main informational burden in their multimodal utterance. Frontal and P300 effects in the ERPs suggested the importance of intentional and modality-independent attentional mechanisms during the planning phase of informative pointing gestures. These findings contribute to a better understanding of the complex interplay between action, attention, intention, and language in the production of pointing gestures, a communicative act core to human interaction.
  • Rowbotham, S., Lloyd, D. M., Holler, J., & Wearden, A. (2015). Externalizing the private experience of pain: A role for co-speech gestures in pain communication? Health Communication, 30(1), 70-80. doi:10.1080/10410236.2013.836070.

    Abstract

    Despite the importance of effective pain communication, talking about pain represents a major challenge for patients and clinicians because pain is a private and subjective experience. Focusing primarily on acute pain, this article considers the limitations of current methods of obtaining information about the sensory characteristics of pain and suggests that spontaneously produced “co-speech hand gestures” may constitute an important source of information here. Although this is a relatively new area of research, we present recent empirical evidence that reveals that co-speech gestures contain important information about pain that can both add to and clarify speech. Following this, we discuss how these findings might eventually lead to a greater understanding of the sensory characteristics of pain, and to improvements in treatment and support for pain sufferers. We hope that this article will stimulate further research and discussion of this previously overlooked dimension of pain communication
  • Schubotz, L., Holler, J., & Ozyurek, A. (2015). Age-related differences in multi-modal audience design: Young, but not old speakers, adapt speech and gestures to their addressee's knowledge. In G. Ferré, & M. Tutton (Eds.), Proceedings of the 4th GESPIN - Gesture & Speech in Interaction Conference (pp. 211-216). Nantes: Université of Nantes.

    Abstract

    Speakers can adapt their speech and co-speech gestures for addressees. Here, we investigate whether this ability is modulated by age. Younger and older adults participated in a comic narration task in which one participant (the speaker) narrated six short comic stories to another participant (the addressee). One half of each story was known to both participants, the other half only to the speaker. Younger but not older speakers used more words and gestures when narrating novel story content as opposed to known content. We discuss cognitive and pragmatic explanations of these findings and relate them to theories of gesture production.
  • Holler, J. (2014). Experimental methods in co-speech gesture research. In C. Mueller, A. Cienki, D. McNeill, & E. Fricke (Eds.), Body -language – communication: An international handbook on multimodality in human interaction. Volume 1 (pp. 837-856). Berlin: De Gruyter.
  • Holler, J., Schubotz, L., Kelly, S., Hagoort, P., Schuetze, M., & Ozyurek, A. (2014). Social eye gaze modulates processing of speech and co-speech gesture. Cognition, 133, 692-697. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2014.08.008.

    Abstract

    In human face-to-face communication, language comprehension is a multi-modal, situated activity. However, little is known about how we combine information from different modalities during comprehension, and how perceived communicative intentions, often signaled through visual signals, influence this process. We explored this question by simulating a multi-party communication context in which a speaker alternated her gaze between two recipients. Participants viewed speech-only or speech + gesture object-related messages when being addressed (direct gaze) or unaddressed (gaze averted to other participant). They were then asked to choose which of two object images matched the speaker’s preceding message. Unaddressed recipients responded significantly more slowly than addressees for speech-only utterances. However, perceiving the same speech accompanied by gestures sped unaddressed recipients up to a level identical to that of addressees. That is, when unaddressed recipients’ speech processing suffers, gestures can enhance the comprehension of a speaker’s message. We discuss our findings with respect to two hypotheses attempting to account for how social eye gaze may modulate multi-modal language comprehension.
  • Levinson, S. C., & Holler, J. (2014). The origin of human multi-modal communication. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 369(1651): 2013030. doi:10.1098/rstb.2013.0302.

    Abstract

    One reason for the apparent gulf between animal and human communication systems is that the focus has been on the presence or the absence of language as a complex expressive system built on speech. But language normally occurs embedded within an interactional exchange of multi-modal signals. If this larger perspective takes central focus, then it becomes apparent that human communication has a layered structure, where the layers may be plausibly assigned different phylogenetic and evolutionary origins—especially in the light of recent thoughts on the emergence of voluntary breathing and spoken language. This perspective helps us to appreciate the different roles that the different modalities play in human communication, as well as how they function as one integrated system despite their different roles and origins. It also offers possibilities for reconciling the ‘gesture-first hypothesis’ with that of gesture and speech having evolved together, hand in hand—or hand in mouth, rather—as one system.
  • Rowbotham, S., Holler, J., Lloyd, D., & Wearden, A. (2014). Handling pain: The semantic interplay of speech and co-speech hand gestures in the description of pain sensations. Speech Communication, 57, 244-256. doi:10.1016/j.specom.2013.04.002.

    Abstract

    Pain is a private and subjective experience about which effective communication is vital, particularly in medical settings. Speakers often represent information about pain sensation in both speech and co-speech hand gestures simultaneously, but it is not known whether gestures merely replicate spoken information or complement it in some way. We examined the representational contribution of gestures in a range of consecutive analyses. Firstly, we found that 78% of speech units containing pain sensation were accompanied by gestures, with 53% of these gestures representing pain sensation. Secondly, in 43% of these instances, gestures represented pain sensation information that was not contained in speech, contributing additional, complementary information to the pain sensation message. Finally, when applying a specificity analysis, we found that in contrast with research in different domains of talk, gestures did not make the pain sensation information in speech more specific. Rather, they complemented the verbal pain message by representing different aspects of pain sensation, contributing to a fuller representation of pain sensation than speech alone. These findings highlight the importance of gestures in communicating about pain sensation and suggest that this modality provides additional information to supplement and clarify the often ambiguous verbal pain message

    Files private

    Request files
  • Rowbotham, S., Wardy, A. J., Lloyd, D. M., Wearden, A., & Holler, J. (2014). Increased pain intensity is associated with greater verbal communication difficulty and increased production of speech and co-speech gestures. PLoS One, 9(10): e110779. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0110779.

    Abstract

    Effective pain communication is essential if adequate treatment and support are to be provided. Pain communication is often multimodal, with sufferers utilising speech, nonverbal behaviours (such as facial expressions), and co-speech gestures (bodily movements, primarily of the hands and arms that accompany speech and can convey semantic information) to communicate their experience. Research suggests that the production of nonverbal pain behaviours is positively associated with pain intensity, but it is not known whether this is also the case for speech and co-speech gestures. The present study explored whether increased pain intensity is associated with greater speech and gesture production during face-to-face communication about acute, experimental pain. Participants (N = 26) were exposed to experimentally elicited pressure pain to the fingernail bed at high and low intensities and took part in video-recorded semi-structured interviews. Despite rating more intense pain as more difficult to communicate (t(25) = 2.21, p = .037), participants produced significantly longer verbal pain descriptions and more co-speech gestures in the high intensity pain condition (Words: t(25) = 3.57, p = .001; Gestures: t(25) = 3.66, p = .001). This suggests that spoken and gestural communication about pain is enhanced when pain is more intense. Thus, in addition to conveying detailed semantic information about pain, speech and co-speech gestures may provide a cue to pain intensity, with implications for the treatment and support received by pain sufferers. Future work should consider whether these findings are applicable within the context of clinical interactions about pain.
  • Theakston, A., Coates, A., & Holler, J. (2014). Handling agents and patients: Representational cospeech gestures help children comprehend complex syntactic constructions. Developmental Psychology, 50(7), 1973-1984. doi:10.1037/a0036694.

    Abstract

    Gesture is an important precursor of children’s early language development, for example, in the transition to multiword speech and as a predictor of later language abilities. However, it is unclear whether gestural input can influence children’s comprehension of complex grammatical constructions. In Study 1, 3- (M = 3 years 5 months) and 4-year-old (M = 4 years 6 months) children witnessed 2-participant actions described using the infrequent object-cleft-construction (OCC; It was the dog that the cat chased). Half saw an experimenter accompanying her descriptions with gestures representing the 2 participants and indicating the direction of action; the remaining children did not witness gesture. Children who witnessed gestures showed better comprehension of the OCC than those who did not witness gestures, both in and beyond the immediate physical context, but this benefit was restricted to the oldest 4-year-olds. In Study 2, a further group of older 4-year-old children (M = 4 years 7 months) witnessed the same 2-participant actions described by an experimenter and accompanied by gestures, but the gesture represented only the 2 participants and not the direction of the action. Again, a benefit of gesture was observed on subsequent comprehension of the OCC. We interpret these findings as demonstrating that representational cospeech gestures can help children comprehend complex linguistic structures by highlighting the roles played by the participants in the event.

    Files private

    Request files
  • Cai, Z. G., Conell, L., & Holler, J. (2013). Time does not flow without language: Spatial distance affects temporal duration regardless of movement or direction. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 20(5), 973-980. doi:10.3758/s13423-013-0414-3.

    Abstract

    Much evidence has suggested that people conceive of time as flowing directionally in transverse space (e.g., from left to right for English speakers). However, this phenomenon has never been tested in a fully nonlinguistic paradigm where neither stimuli nor task use linguistic labels, which raises the possibility that time is directional only when reading/writing direction has been evoked. In the present study, English-speaking participants viewed a video where an actor sang a note while gesturing and reproduced the duration of the sung note by pressing a button. Results showed that the perceived duration of the note was increased by a long-distance gesture, relative to a short-distance gesture. This effect was equally strong for gestures moving from left to right and from right to left and was not dependent on gestures depicting movement through space; a weaker version of the effect emerged with static gestures depicting spatial distance. Since both our gesture stimuli and temporal reproduction task were nonlinguistic, we conclude that the spatial representation of time is nondirectional: Movement contributes, but is not necessary, to the representation of temporal information in a transverse timeline.
  • Connell, L., Cai, Z. G., & Holler, J. (2013). Do you see what I'm singing? Visuospatial movement biases pitch perception. Brain and Cognition, 81, 124-130. doi:10.1016/j.bandc.2012.09.005.

    Abstract

    The nature of the connection between musical and spatial processing is controversial. While pitch may be described in spatial terms such as “high” or “low”, it is unclear whether pitch and space are associated but separate dimensions or whether they share representational and processing resources. In the present study, we asked participants to judge whether a target vocal note was the same as (or different from) a preceding cue note. Importantly, target trials were presented as video clips where a singer sometimes gestured upward or downward while singing that target note, thus providing an alternative, concurrent source of spatial information. Our results show that pitch discrimination was significantly biased by the spatial movement in gesture, such that downward gestures made notes seem lower in pitch than they really were, and upward gestures made notes seem higher in pitch. These effects were eliminated by spatial memory load but preserved under verbal memory load conditions. Together, our findings suggest that pitch and space have a shared representation such that the mental representation of pitch is audiospatial in nature.
  • Hall, S., Rumney, L., Holler, J., & Kidd, E. (2013). Associations among play, gesture and early spoken language acquisition. First Language, 33, 294-312. doi:10.1177/0142723713487618.

    Abstract

    The present study investigated the developmental interrelationships between play, gesture use and spoken language development in children aged 18–31 months. The children completed two tasks: (i) a structured measure of pretend (or ‘symbolic’) play and (ii) a measure of vocabulary knowledge in which children have been shown to gesture. Additionally, their productive spoken language knowledge was measured via parental report. The results indicated that symbolic play is positively associated with children’s gesture use, which in turn is positively associated with spoken language knowledge over and above the influence of age. The tripartite relationship between gesture, play and language development is discussed with reference to current developmental theory.
  • Holler, J., Turner, K., & Varcianna, T. (2013). It's on the tip of my fingers: Co-speech gestures during lexical retrieval in different social contexts. Language and Cognitive Processes, 28(10), 1509-1518. doi:10.1080/01690965.2012.698289.

    Abstract

    The Lexical Retrieval Hypothesis proposes that gestures function at the level of speech production, aiding in the retrieval of lexical items from the mental lexicon. However, empirical evidence for this account is mixed, and some critics argue that a more likely function of gestures during lexical retrieval is a communicative one. The present study was designed to test these predictions against each other by keeping lexical retrieval difficulty constant while varying social context. Participants' gestures were analysed during tip of the tongue experiences when communicating with a partner face-to-face (FTF), while being separated by a screen, or on their own by speaking into a voice recorder. The results show that participants in the FTF context produced significantly more representational gestures than participants in the solitary condition. This suggests that, even in the specific context of lexical retrieval difficulties, representational gestures appear to play predominantly a communicative role.

    Files private

    Request files
  • Holler, J., Schubotz, L., Kelly, S., Schuetze, M., Hagoort, P., & Ozyurek, A. (2013). Here's not looking at you, kid! Unaddressed recipients benefit from co-speech gestures when speech processing suffers. In M. Knauff, M. Pauen, I. Sebanz, & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.), Proceedings of the 35th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2013) (pp. 2560-2565). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. Retrieved from http://mindmodeling.org/cogsci2013/papers/0463/index.html.

    Abstract

    In human face-to-face communication, language comprehension is a multi-modal, situated activity. However, little is known about how we combine information from these different modalities, and how perceived communicative intentions, often signaled through visual signals, such as eye gaze, may influence this processing. We address this question by simulating a triadic communication context in which a speaker alternated her gaze between two different recipients. Participants thus viewed speech-only or speech+gesture object-related utterances when being addressed (direct gaze) or unaddressed (averted gaze). Two object images followed each message and participants’ task was to choose the object that matched the message. Unaddressed recipients responded significantly slower than addressees for speech-only utterances. However, perceiving the same speech accompanied by gestures sped them up to a level identical to that of addressees. That is, when speech processing suffers due to not being addressed, gesture processing remains intact and enhances the comprehension of a speaker’s message
  • Lynott, D., Connell, L., & Holler, J. (Eds.). (2013). The role of body and environment in cognition. Frontiers in Psychology, 4: 465. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00465.
  • Peeters, D., Chu, M., Holler, J., Ozyurek, A., & Hagoort, P. (2013). Getting to the point: The influence of communicative intent on the kinematics of pointing gestures. In M. Knauff, M. Pauen, N. Sebanz, & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.), Proceedings of the 35th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2013) (pp. 1127-1132). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    In everyday communication, people not only use speech but also hand gestures to convey information. One intriguing question in gesture research has been why gestures take the specific form they do. Previous research has identified the speaker-gesturer’s communicative intent as one factor shaping the form of iconic gestures. Here we investigate whether communicative intent also shapes the form of pointing gestures. In an experimental setting, twenty-four participants produced pointing gestures identifying a referent for an addressee. The communicative intent of the speakergesturer was manipulated by varying the informativeness of the pointing gesture. A second independent variable was the presence or absence of concurrent speech. As a function of their communicative intent and irrespective of the presence of speech, participants varied the durations of the stroke and the post-stroke hold-phase of their gesture. These findings add to our understanding of how the communicative context influences the form that a gesture takes.
  • Connell, L., Cai, Z. G., & Holler, J. (2012). Do you see what I'm singing? Visuospatial movement biases pitch perception. In N. Miyake, D. Peebles, & R. P. Cooper (Eds.), Proceedings of the 34th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2012) (pp. 252-257). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

    Abstract

    The nature of the connection between musical and spatial processing is controversial. While pitch may be described in spatial terms such as “high” or “low”, it is unclear whether pitch and space are associated but separate dimensions or whether they share representational and processing resources. In the present study, we asked participants to judge whether a target vocal note was the same as (or different from) a preceding cue note. Importantly, target trials were presented as video clips where a singer sometimes gestured upward or downward while singing that target note, thus providing an alternative, concurrent source of spatial information. Our results show that pitch discrimination was significantly biased by the spatial movement in gesture. These effects were eliminated by spatial memory load but preserved under verbal memory load conditions. Together, our findings suggest that pitch and space have a shared representation such that the mental representation of pitch is audiospatial in nature.
  • Holler, J., Kelly, S., Hagoort, P., & Ozyurek, A. (2012). When gestures catch the eye: The influence of gaze direction on co-speech gesture comprehension in triadic communication. In N. Miyake, D. Peebles, & R. P. Cooper (Eds.), Proceedings of the 34th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2012) (pp. 467-472). Austin, TX: Cognitive Society. Retrieved from http://mindmodeling.org/cogsci2012/papers/0092/index.html.

    Abstract

    Co-speech gestures are an integral part of human face-to-face communication, but little is known about how pragmatic factors influence our comprehension of those gestures. The present study investigates how different types of recipients process iconic gestures in a triadic communicative situation. Participants (N = 32) took on the role of one of two recipients in a triad and were presented with 160 video clips of an actor speaking, or speaking and gesturing. Crucially, the actor’s eye gaze was manipulated in that she alternated her gaze between the two recipients. Participants thus perceived some messages in the role of addressed recipient and some in the role of unaddressed recipient. In these roles, participants were asked to make judgements concerning the speaker’s messages. Their reaction times showed that unaddressed recipients did comprehend speaker’s gestures differently to addressees. The findings are discussed with respect to automatic and controlled processes involved in gesture comprehension.
  • Kelly, S., Healey, M., Ozyurek, A., & Holler, J. (2012). The communicative influence of gesture and action during speech comprehension: Gestures have the upper hand [Abstract]. Abstracts of the Acoustics 2012 Hong Kong conference published in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 131, 3311. doi:10.1121/1.4708385.

    Abstract

    Hand gestures combine with speech to form a single integrated system of meaning during language comprehension (Kelly et al., 2010). However, it is unknown whether gesture is uniquely integrated with speech or is processed like any other manual action. Thirty-one participants watched videos presenting speech with gestures or manual actions on objects. The relationship between the speech and gesture/action was either complementary (e.g., “He found the answer,” while producing a calculating gesture vs. actually using a calculator) or incongruent (e.g., the same sentence paired with the incongruent gesture/action of stirring with a spoon). Participants watched the video (prime) and then responded to a written word (target) that was or was not spoken in the video prime (e.g., “found” or “cut”). ERPs were taken to the primes (time-locked to the spoken verb, e.g., “found”) and the written targets. For primes, there was a larger frontal N400 (semantic processing) to incongruent vs. congruent items for the gesture, but not action, condition. For targets, the P2 (phonemic processing) was smaller for target words following congruent vs. incongruent gesture, but not action, primes. These findings suggest that hand gestures are integrated with speech in a privileged fashion compared to manual actions on objects.
  • Rowbotham, S., Holler, J., Lloyd, D., & Wearden, A. (2012). How do we communicate about pain? A systematic analysis of the semantic contribution of co-speech gestures in pain-focused conversations. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 36, 1-21. doi:10.1007/s10919-011-0122-5.

    Abstract

    The purpose of the present study was to investigate co-speech gesture use during communication about pain. Speakers described a recent pain experience and the data were analyzed using a ‘semantic feature approach’ to determine the distribution of information across gesture and speech. This analysis revealed that a considerable proportion of pain-focused talk was accompanied by gestures, and that these gestures often contained more information about pain than speech itself. Further, some gestures represented information that was hardly represented in speech at all. Overall, these results suggest that gestures are integral to the communication of pain and need to be attended to if recipients are to obtain a fuller understanding of the pain experience and provide help and support to pain sufferers.
  • Cleary, R. A., Poliakoff, E., Galpin, A., Dick, J. P., & Holler, J. (2011). An investigation of co-speech gesture production during action description in Parkinson’s disease. Parkinsonism & Related Disorders, 17, 753-756. doi:10.1016/j.parkreldis.2011.08.001.

    Abstract

    Methods The present study provides a systematic analysis of co-speech gestures which spontaneously accompany the description of actions in a group of PD patients (N = 23, Hoehn and Yahr Stage III or less) and age-matched healthy controls (N = 22). The analysis considers different co-speech gesture types, using established classification schemes from the field of gesture research. The analysis focuses on the rate of these gestures as well as on their qualitative nature. In doing so, the analysis attempts to overcome several methodological shortcomings of research in this area. Results Contrary to expectation, gesture rate was not significantly affected in our patient group, with relatively mild PD. This indicates that co-speech gestures could compensate for speech problems. However, while gesture rate seems unaffected, the qualitative precision of gestures representing actions was significantly reduced. Conclusions This study demonstrates the feasibility of carrying out fine-grained, detailed analyses of gestures in PD and offers insights into an as yet neglected facet of communication in patients with PD. Based on the present findings, an important next step is the closer investigation of the qualitative changes in gesture (including different communicative situations) and an analysis of the heterogeneity in co-speech gesture production in PD.
  • Holler, J., & Wilkin, K. (2011). An experimental investigation of how addressee feedback affects co-speech gestures accompanying speakers’ responses. Journal of Pragmatics, 43, 3522-3536. doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2011.08.002.

    Abstract

    There is evidence that co-speech gestures communicate information to addressees and that they are often communicatively intended. However, we still know comparatively little about the role of gestures in the actual process of communication. The present study offers a systematic investigation of speakers’ gesture use before and after addressee feedback. The findings show that when speakers responded to addressees’ feedback gesture rate remained constant when this feedback encouraged clarification, elaboration or correction. However, speakers gestured proportionally less often after feedback when providing confirmatory responses. That is, speakers may not be drawing on gesture in response to addressee feedback per se, but particularly with responses that enhance addressees’ understanding. Further, the large majority of speakers’ gestures changed in their form. They tended to be more precise, larger, or more visually prominent after feedback. Some changes in gesture viewpoint were also observed. In addition, we found that speakers used deixis in speech and gaze to increase the salience of gestures occurring in response to feedback. Speakers appear to conceive of gesture as a useful modality in redesigning utterances to make them more accessible to addressees. The findings further our understanding of recipient design and co-speech gestures in face-to-face dialogue. Highlights ► Gesture rate remains constant in response to addressee feedback when the response aims to correct or clarify understanding. ► But gesture rate decreases when speakers provide confirmatory responses to feedback signalling correct understanding. ► Gestures are more communicative in response to addressee feedback, particularly in terms of precision, size and visual prominence. ► Speakers make gestures in response to addressee feedback more salient by using deictic markers in speech and gaze.
  • Holler, J., & Wilkin, K. (2011). Co-speech gesture mimicry in the process of collaborative referring during face-to-face dialogue. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 35, 133-153. doi:10.1007/s10919-011-0105-6.

    Abstract

    Mimicry has been observed regarding a range of nonverbal behaviors, but only recently have researchers started to investigate mimicry in co-speech gestures. These gestures are considered to be crucially different from other aspects of nonverbal behavior due to their tight link with speech. This study provides evidence of mimicry in co-speech gestures in face-to-face dialogue, the most common forum of everyday talk. In addition, it offers an analysis of the functions that mimicked co-speech gestures fulfill in the collaborative process of creating a mutually shared understanding of referring expressions. The implications bear on theories of gesture production, research on grounding, and the mechanisms underlying behavioral mimicry.
  • Holler, J., Tutton, M., & Wilkin, K. (2011). Co-speech gestures in the process of meaning coordination. In Proceedings of the 2nd GESPIN - Gesture & Speech in Interaction Conference, Bielefeld, 5-7 Sep 2011.

    Abstract

    This study uses a classical referential communication task to investigate the role of co-speech gestures in the process of coordination. The study manipulates both the common ground between the interlocutors, as well as the visibility of the gestures they use. The findings show that co-speech gestures are an integral part of the referential utterances speakers produced with regard to both initial references as well as repeated references, and that the availability of gestures appears to impact on interlocutors’ referential oordination. The results are discussed with regard to past research on common ground as well as theories of gesture production.
  • Holler, J. (2011). Verhaltenskoordination, Mimikry und sprachbegleitende Gestik in der Interaktion. Psychotherapie - Wissenschaft: Special issue: "Sieh mal, wer da spricht" - der Koerper in der Psychotherapie Teil IV, 1(1), 56-64. Retrieved from http://www.psychotherapie-wissenschaft.info/index.php/psy-wis/article/view/13/65.
  • Kelly, S., Byrne, K., & Holler, J. (2011). Raising the stakes of communication: Evidence for increased gesture production as predicted by the GSA framework. Information, 2(4), 579-593. doi:10.3390/info2040579.

    Abstract

    Theorists of language have argued that co-­speech hand gestures are an intentional part of social communication. The present study provides evidence for these claims by showing that speakers adjust their gesture use according to their perceived relevance to the audience. Participants were asked to read about items that were and were not useful in a wilderness survival scenario, under the pretense that they would then explain (on camera) what they learned to one of two different audiences. For one audience (a group of college students in a dormitory orientation activity), the stakes of successful communication were low;; for the other audience (a group of students preparing for a rugged camping trip in the mountains), the stakes were high. In their explanations to the camera, participants in the high stakes condition produced three times as many representational gestures, and spent three times as much time gesturing, than participants in the low stakes condition. This study extends previous research by showing that the anticipated consequences of one’s communication—namely, the degree to which information may be useful to an intended recipient—influences speakers’ use of gesture.
  • Wilkin, K., & Holler, J. (2011). Speakers’ use of ‘action’ and ‘entity’ gestures with definite and indefinite references. In G. Stam, & M. Ishino (Eds.), Integrating gestures: The interdisciplinary nature of gesture (pp. 293-308). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

    Abstract

    Common ground is an essential prerequisite for coordination in social interaction, including language use. When referring back to a referent in discourse, this referent is ‘given information’ and therefore in the interactants’ common ground. When a referent is being referred to for the first time, a speaker introduces ‘new information’. The analyses reported here are on gestures that accompany such references when they include definite and indefinite grammatical determiners. The main finding from these analyses is that referents referred to by definite and indefinite articles were equally often accompanied by gesture, but speakers tended to accompany definite references with gestures focusing on action information and indefinite references with gestures focusing on entity information. The findings suggest that speakers use speech and gesture together to design utterances appropriate for speakers with whom they share common ground.

    Files private

    Request files
  • Holler, J. (2010). Speakers’ use of interactive gestures to mark common ground. In S. Kopp, & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.), Gesture in embodied communication and human-computer interaction. 8th International Gesture Workshop, Bielefeld, Germany, 2009; Selected Revised Papers (pp. 11-22). Heidelberg: Springer Verlag.
  • Holler, J., & Wilkin, K. (2009). Communicating common ground: how mutually shared knowledge influences the representation of semantic information in speech and gesture in a narrative task. Language and Cognitive Processes, 24, 267-289.
  • Holler, J., Shovelton, H., & Beattie, G. (2009). Do iconic gestures really contribute to the semantic information communicated in face-to-face interaction? Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 33, 73-88.
  • Kidd, E., & Holler, J. (2009). Children’s use of gesture to resolve lexical ambiguity. Developmental Science, 12, 903-913.
  • Holler, J., & Geoffrey, B. (2007). Gesture use in social interaction: how speakers' gestures can reflect listeners' thinking. In L. Mondada (Ed.), On-line Proceedings of the 2nd Conference of the International Society of Gesture Studies, Lyon, France 15-18 June 2005.
  • Holler, J., & Stevens, R. (2007). The effect of common ground on how speakers use gesture and speech to represent size information. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 26, 4-27.
  • Stewart, A., Holler, J., & Kidd, E. (2007). Shallow processing of ambiguous pronouns: Evidence for delay. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 60, 1680-1696. doi:10.1080/17470210601160807.
  • Holler, J., & Stevens, R. (2006). How speakers represent size information in referential communication for knowing and unknowing recipients. In D. Schlangen, & R. Fernandez (Eds.), Brandial '06 Proceedings of the 10th Workshop on the Semantics and Pragmatics of Dialogue, Potsdam, Germany, September 11-13.
  • Holler, J. (2004). Semantic and pragmatic aspects of representational gestures: Towards a unified model of communication in talk. PhD Thesis, University of Manchester, Manchester.
  • Holler, J., & Beattie, G. (2004). The interaction of iconic gesture and speech. In A. Cammurri, & G. Volpe (Eds.), Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 5th International Gesture Workshop, Genova, Italy, 2003; Selected Revised Papers (pp. 63-69). Heidelberg: Springer Verlag.
  • Holler, J., & Beattie, G. (2003). How iconic gestures and speech interact in the representation of meaning: are both aspects really integral to the process? Semiotica, 146, 81-116.
  • Holler, J., & Beattie, G. (2003). Pragmatic aspects of representational gestures: Do speakers use them to clarify verbal ambiguity for the listener? Gesture, 3, 127-154.
  • Holler, J., & Beattie, G. (2002). A micro-analytic investigation of how iconic gestures and speech represent core semantic features in talk. Semiotica, 142, 31-69.

Share this page