Investigating the dual function of gesture in blind and visually impaired children. (Poster)

Jelec, Anna and Fleischer, Zuzanna and Jaworska, Dorota (2012) Investigating the dual function of gesture in blind and visually impaired children. (Poster). [Conference Poster] (Unpublished)

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Co-speech gesture research explores the role of gesture in communication, i.e. whether gestures are intended for the listener/audience (e.g. Mol et al. 2009; Alibali et al., 2001; Holler & Beattie, 2003) or support the process of speech production (Kita & Davies, 2009; Hostetter et al. 2007). To investigate the role of gesture in communication we turn to blind and visually impaired speakers whose opportunities to learn gestures visually are limited (cf. Iverson & Goldin-Meadow 1998; 2001). The present study aims at providing insight into the nature and occurrence of co-speech gestures in spontaneous speech: between blind, severely visually impaired and sighted individuals. Participants were asked to read a short story (either in print or in Braille) and to re-tell it to the interviewer. Care was taken to establish an environment in which the participants would feel safe and would not refrain from gesturing for fear of hurting themselves or others. We predicted that if blind speakers did not gesture as much as their visually impaired peers it would suggest that gesture is to some extent acquired through visual instruction. However, following Iverson et al. (2000) and Iverson and Goldin-Meadow (1998) we hypothesized that despite the absence of visual gestural stimuli during the language-learning process gesture is present in the language of the blind participants - but there would be differences in gesture form, types and functions. The present study aims at exploring and categorizing these differences, with regard to how sensory references are visible in the gestures of participants with various degrees of sight impairment. Regardless of dissimilarities, the presence of gesture in both the blind and impaired individuals points towards a dual function of co-speech gestures, i.e. a device for both the speaker and their interlocutor.

Item Type:Conference Poster
Keywords:gesture, gesticulation, blindness
Subjects:Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
Psychology > Psycholinguistics
ID Code:8979
Deposited By: Jelec, Anna
Deposited On:17 Sep 2013 14:25
Last Modified:17 Sep 2013 14:25


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