Beat Gestures : An Exploration
Kinney, Elizabeth C.
This senior individualized project will explore some of the situational factors that might influence nonrepresentational gestures, also known as beat gestures or batons. Little is known about the origin and function of these gestures. Data from a larger study were analyzed (see Hostetter and Potthoff, 20 12). This project focuses on the effect of visibility in beat gesture rate in speaker-listener dyads and the effect of word type (abstract, nonspatial, spatial, animated, manipulable) on beat gesture rate. Results indicate no overall effect of visibility on beat gesture rate. However, there was an effect of word type; speakers gesture more when describing an abstract word than when describing other word types. Further, a significant interaction was found, such that speakers produce more beat gestures when they are describing abstract words with a visible audience present than when describing abstract words with no visible audience. These findings add to the growing literature on the topic of beat gestures.
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