Multi-modal communication of common ground: A review of social functions

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.
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.
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