Effects of Prosody and Position on the Timing of Deictic Gestures Purpose In this study, the authors investigated the hypothesis that the perceived tight temporal synchrony of speech and gesture is evidence of an integrated spoken language and manual gesture communication system. It was hypothesized that experimental manipulations of the spoken response would affect the timing of deictic gestures. ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2013
Effects of Prosody and Position on the Timing of Deictic Gestures
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Heather Leavy Rusiewicz
    Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Susan Shaiman
    University of Pittsburgh
  • Jana M. Iverson
    University of Pittsburgh
  • Neil Szuminsky
    University of Pittsburgh
  • Correspondence to Heather Leavy Rusiewicz: rusiewih@duq.edu
  • Editor: Anne Smith
    Editor: Anne Smith×
  • Associate Editor: Pascal van Lieshout
    Associate Editor: Pascal van Lieshout×
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosody / Speech / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2013
Effects of Prosody and Position on the Timing of Deictic Gestures
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2013, Vol. 56, 458-470. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0283)
History: Received October 21, 2011 , Revised February 24, 2012 , Accepted July 15, 2012
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2013, Vol. 56, 458-470. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2012/11-0283)
History: Received October 21, 2011; Revised February 24, 2012; Accepted July 15, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 4

Purpose In this study, the authors investigated the hypothesis that the perceived tight temporal synchrony of speech and gesture is evidence of an integrated spoken language and manual gesture communication system. It was hypothesized that experimental manipulations of the spoken response would affect the timing of deictic gestures.

Method The authors manipulated syllable position and contrastive stress in compound words in multiword utterances by using a repeated-measures design to investigate the degree of synchronization of speech and pointing gestures produced by 15 American English speakers. Acoustic measures were compared with the gesture movement recorded via capacitance.

Results Although most participants began a gesture before the target word, the temporal parameters of the gesture changed as a function of syllable position and prosody. Syllables with contrastive stress in the 2nd position of compound words were the longest in duration and also most consistently affected the timing of gestures, as measured by several dependent measures.

Conclusion Increasing the stress of a syllable significantly affected the timing of a corresponding gesture, notably for syllables in the 2nd position of words that would not typically be stressed. The findings highlight the need to consider the interaction of gestures and spoken language production from a motor-based perspective of coordination.

Acknowledgments
Funding for this project was provided by the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Development Fund. We are grateful to Thomas Campbell, Christine Dollaghan, Diane Williams, and J. Scott Yaruss for assistance in the development and execution of this project and to Jordan Birnbaum, Alyssa Milloy, and Megan Pellettiere for assistance with data analyses and management. We would also like to thank our participants for their time.
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