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 1, 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 1, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) — New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Coffee Then Napping: The (New) Key To Alertness

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) — Researchers say having a cup of coffee then taking a nap is more effective than a nap or coffee alone. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

Young Entrepreneurs Get $100,000, If They Quit School

AFP (Aug. 29, 2014) — Twenty college-age students are getting 100,000 dollars from a Silicon Valley leader and a chance to live in San Francisco in order to work on the start-up project of their dreams, but they have to quit school first. Duration: 02:20 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Baby Babbling Might Lead To Faster Language Development

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) — A new study suggests babies develop language skills more quickly if their parents imitate the babies' sounds and expressions and talk to them often. 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