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Academic Paper


Title: Gesture in the Brain: A multi-tasking experiment.
Author: Nicla Rossini
Email: click here to access email
Homepage: http://www.niclarossini.com
Institution: Università degli Studi di Pavia
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Cognitive Science; Psycholinguistics
Abstract: The study of gesture raises a number of questions about the ultimate psychological origin of such a phenomenon, and scholars have diverging opinions regarding this issue. It has been observed that, when prevented from gesticulation, subjects tend to intensify both the use of vocal gestures and the activity of facial muscles (Rauscher, Krauss and Chen 1996). This finding has led scholars to claim that gestures are a mere epiphenomenon of language. Gestures, in fact, appear to serve rather controversial functions relative to communicative acts. On the one hand, they seem to convey relevant information (McNeill 1985, 1992, 2005) which is usually attended to by the listener (Cassell, McNeill and McCullough 1999), and on the other hand, they make the speaker's computational task easier (Rossini 2007). Despite the controversial nature of gesture, some scholars have suggested that not only do gesture and speech share the same psychological origin, but they also have the same neuromotor foundations (Armstrong, Stokoe and Wilcox 1995; Arbib 2006). This basic issue is addressed here by means of a review of the research studies conducted in the field and a discussion of the data available from a multi-tasking experiment.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: In Progress
Venue: Cambridge Scholars Publishing: Cambridge.
Publication Info: . In Zlatev, J., Johansson Falck, M., Lundmark, C. and Andrén M. (Eds) Studies in Language and Cognition. Pp. 436-453.


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