Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Two sides of the same coin: Speech and gesture mutually interact to enhance comprehension

Date:
January 6, 2010
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
Your mother may have taught you that it's rude to point, but according to new research, gesturing may actually help improve communication. These findings suggest that when gesture and speech convey the same information, they are easier to understand than when they convey different information. In addition, these results indicate that gesture and speech form an integrated system that helps us in language comprehension.

Your mother may have taught you that it's rude to point, but according to new research in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, gesturing may actually help improve communication.

Psychological scientist Spencer Kelly from Colgate University, along with Asli Φzyόrek and Eric Maris from Radboud University Nijmegen (The Netherlands) were interested in the interaction between speech and gesturing and how important this relationship is for language. In this study, volunteers watched brief videos of common actions (e.g., someone chopping vegetables, washing dishes) followed by a one-second video of a spoken word and a gesture. In some of the trials (congruent trials), the speech and gestures were related (e.g., "chop," chopping gesture), while during other trials (incongruent trials), what was said did not match the gesture (e.g., "chop," twisting gesture). The volunteers had to indicate whether the speech and gesture were related to the initial video they watched.

The results revealed that the volunteers performed better during congruent trials than incongruent trials -- they were faster and more accurate when the gesture matched the spoken word. Furthermore, these results were replicated when the volunteers were told to pay attention only to the spoken word and not the gesture. Taken together, these findings suggest that when gesture and speech convey the same information, they are easier to understand than when they convey different information. In addition, these results indicate that gesture and speech form an integrated system that helps us in language comprehension.

The researchers note that "these results have implications for everyday communicative situations, such as in educational contexts (both teachers and students), persuasive messages (political speeches, advertisements), and situations of urgency (first aid, cock pit conversations)." They suggest that the best way for speakers to get their message across is to "coordinate what they say with their words with what they do with their hands." In other words, the authors conclude, "If you really want to make your point clear and readily understood, let your words and hands do the talking."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kelly et al. Two Sides of the Same Coin: Speech and Gesture Mutually Interact to Enhance Comprehension. Psychological Science, 2009; DOI: 10.1177/0956797609357327

Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Two sides of the same coin: Speech and gesture mutually interact to enhance comprehension." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100105143730.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2010, January 6). Two sides of the same coin: Speech and gesture mutually interact to enhance comprehension. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100105143730.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Two sides of the same coin: Speech and gesture mutually interact to enhance comprehension." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100105143730.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) — The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) — A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

'Magic Mushrooms' Could Help Smokers Quit

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — In a small study, researchers found that the majority of long-time smokers quit after taking psilocybin pills and undergoing therapy sessions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

'Fat Shaming' Might Actually Cause Weight Gain

Newsy (Sep. 11, 2014) — A study for University College London suggests obese people who are discriminated against gain more weight than those who are not. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:  

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile iPhone Android Web
      Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins