Even co-speech gestures’ early beginnings improve predictions about upcoming words

dc.contributor.advisorBekke, ter, Marlijn
dc.contributor.advisorDrijvers, Linda
dc.contributor.advisorHoller, Judith
dc.contributor.advisorTerporten, René
dc.contributor.authorOtterdijk, van, Lina
dc.description.abstractHuman face-to-face conversation involves rapid turn-taking, likely due to predictive language processing. Moreover, the multimodal aspect of communication can enhance language processing. In this study we examined whether gestures facilitate predictive language processing, and specifically whether the very beginnings of co-speech gestures (i.e. the preparation phase), which have been deemed largely meaningless, may in fact help in predicting upcoming utterance content. Additionally, we asked whether empathy influences this effect. In a cloze task, participants saw video fragments from natural face-to-face conversations and filled out their predictions on how the speaker would continue after the fragment ended. These video fragments always ended prior to the ‘lexical affiliate’ (i.e. the lexical item(s) semantically most closely related to the gesture’s meaning). The video clips were presented in two conditions: (1) with the preparation phase visible, or (2) with the preparation phase blurred. Participants also filled out the Empathy Quotient questionnaire. Results demonstrated that predictions were not more accurate based on visibility of the gesture preparation, but predictions were more similar to the lexical affiliate’s meaning when the gestural preparation was shown. Additionally, predictions varied considerably across participants and preparation visibility did not impact this. With regards to empathy, no influence on the effect of preparation visibility was found. This is the first study to show that even seeing the very early beginnings of co-speech gestures helps with predictive language processing, thus underlining the need for conceptualizing predictive processes during language comprehension in multimodal terms.
dc.thesis.facultyFaculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen
dc.thesis.specialisationspecialisations::Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen::Researchmaster Cognitive Neuroscience::Researchmaster Cognitive Neuroscience
dc.thesis.studyprogrammestudyprogrammes::Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen::Researchmaster Cognitive Neuroscience
dc.titleEven co-speech gestures’ early beginnings improve predictions about upcoming words
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