Origins of vocal-entangled gesture

Pouw, W., & Fuchs, S. (2022). Origins of vocal-entangled gesture. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 141: 104836. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2022.104836.
Gestures during speaking are typically understood in a representational framework: they represent absent or distal states of affairs by means of pointing, resemblance, or symbolic replacement. However, humans also gesture along with the rhythm of speaking, which is amenable to a non-representational perspective. Such a perspective centers on the phenomenon of vocal-entangled gestures and builds on evidence showing that when an upper limb with a certain mass decelerates/accelerates sufficiently, it yields impulses on the body that cascade in various ways into the respiratory–vocal system. It entails a physical entanglement between body motions, respiration, and vocal activities. It is shown that vocal-entangled gestures are realized in infant vocal–motor babbling before any representational use of gesture develops. Similarly, an overview is given of vocal-entangled processes in non-human animals. They can frequently be found in rats, bats, birds, and a range of other species that developed even earlier in the phylogenetic tree. Thus, the origins of human gesture lie in biomechanics, emerging early in ontogeny and running deep in phylogeny.
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