Speaker-oriented and listener-oriented functions of gestures accompanying abstract speech
Co-speech gestures form an integral part of communication and cognition. Although they can serve both speaker-internal and listener-oriented functions, the relation between these two remains unclear. The current study tackles this issue by investigating gestures accompanying abstract speech. From the perspective of the speaker, it is hypothesized that gestures emerge less easily when talking about abstract speech, as this often relates less to visuospatial content compared to concrete speech. From the perspective of the listener however, gestures can be especially helpful accompanying abstract content, as it can be more difficult and open-ended. In an online gesture production experiment, I manipulate both abstractness of speech and visibility, in order to investigate the interaction between speaker-internal and listener-oriented functions of gesture use. I also zoom in on the specific role that different types of gestures play. The results of a pilot study (N=10) show that when taking into account differences between specific gesture types, the two perspectives can be reconciled.
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