Disfluency production in speech and gesture

Abstract

The cognitive architecture and function of co-speech gesture has been the subject of a large body of research. We investigate two main questions in this field, namely, whether language and gesture are the same or two inter-related systems, and whether gestures help resolve speech problems, by examining the relationship between gesture and disfluency in neurotypical speakers. Our results support the view of separate, but inter-related systems by showing that speech problems do not necessarily cause gesture problems, and on many occasions, gestures signal an upcoming speech problem even before it surfaces in overt speech. We also show that while gestures are more common on fluent trials, speakers use both iconic and beat gestures on disfluent trials to facilitate communication, although the two gesture types support communication in different ways.


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