How different iconic gestures add to the communication of PWA

Karin van Nispen

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Introduction Gestures can convey information in addition to speech (Beattie et al., 1999). In the absence of conventions on their meaning (McNeill, 2000), people probably rely on iconicity, the mapping between form and meaning, to construct and derive meaning from gesture (Perniss et al., 2010). This informative function of gesture seems useful for people with aphasia (PWA). As a result of brain damage, PWA may encounter severe language production difficulties (Bastiaanse, 2010), and resulting communication disability. Although PWA can use gestures, some use them differently from non-brain-damaged people (NBDP) (Sekine et al., 2013a; Sekine et al., 2013b). Van Nispen et al. (2015) have shown that, when having to depict objects silently, PWA rely more on gestures that depict the shape of an object as compared to NBDP, who more often show how they would use an object. The present study aimed to find out how PWA use these various iconic representation techniques in semi-spontaneous conversation and how important these gestures are for their communication.MethodsParticipants. Videos of semi-structured interviews with 42 PWA and 9 NBDP from AphasiaBank (MacWhinney et al., 2011) were analyzed for the gestures used. These were coded in two classifications: a) type of iconic gesture and b) communicative value. In addition to the labels identified by Sekine et al. (2013b), we specified five representation techniques: handling, enact, object, shape (see Van Nispen et al., 2015b) and path (see Cocks et al., 2013). Based on Colletta et al. (2009) we determined the communicative value of each gesture. The information in gesture was coded as: ‘Conveys information…..’ 1) similar to information in speech, 2) additional to speech, and 3) that is absent in speech and essential for understanding the communicative message (see van Nispen et al., 2015a).ResultsOur preliminary results indicate no differences for the use of different iconic gestures between NBDP and PWA or between aphasia types. Figure 1 shows for the gestures used by PWA, that concrete deictics and iconic character viewpoint gestures were proportionally most often essential. Also, a large proportion of emblems were essential. Within the category of ICV gestures, both enact and handling gestures were often essential (Figure 2). Figure 1 Communicativeness (proportions) for the different gesture types used by PWAFigure 2 Communicativeness (proportions) for the different iconic representation techniques used by PWADiscussionOur study showed that PWA’s gestures convey information essential for their communication. This is particularly the case for, concrete deictics, handling and enact gestures, but possibly also for shape gesture. Contrary to previous findings for pantomime (Van Nispen et al., 2015b), at a group level, we did not find significant differences between NBDP and PWA, possibly, due to individual variability. At the workshop we plan to present detailed analyses focusing on explaining the importance of these individual differences. Bastiaanse, R. (2010). Afasie. Houten: Bohn Stafleu van Loghum.Beattie, G., & Shovelton, H. (1999). Mapping the Range of Information Contained in the Iconic Hand Gestures that Accompany Spontaneous Speech. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 18(4), 438-462.Cocks, N., Dipper, L., Pritchard, M., & Morgan, G. (2013). The impact of impaired semantic knowledge on spontaneous iconic gesture production. Aphasiology, 27(9), 1050-1069.Colletta, J.-M., Kunene, R., Venouil, A., Kaufmann, V., & Simon, J.-P. (2009). Multi-track Annotation of Child Language and Gestures. In M. Kipp, J.-C. Martin, P. Paggio & D. Heylen (Eds.), Multimodal Corpora (Vol. 5509, pp. 54-72): Springer Berlin Heidelberg.MacWhinney, B., Fromm, D., Forbes, M., & Holland, A. (2011). AphasiaBank: Methods for studying discourse Aphasiology, 25, 1286-1307.McNeill, D. (2000). Language and Gesture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Perniss, P., Thompson, R., & Vigliocco, G. (2010). Iconicity as a general property of language: evidence from spoken and signed languages. Frontiers in Psychology, 1, 227.Sekine, K., & Rose, M. (2013a). The Relationship of Aphasia Type and Gesture Production in People With Aphasia. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 22(4), 662-672.Sekine, K., Rose, M., Foster, A. M., Attard, M. C., & Lanyon, L. E. (2013b). Gesture production patterns in aphasic discourse: In-depth description and preliminary predictions. Aphasiology, 27(9), 1031-1049.van Nispen, K., Sekine, K., & Rose, M. (2015a). Does gesture add to the comprehensibility of people with aphasia? . Paper presented at the GESPIN, Nantes.Van Nispen, K., van de Sandt-Koenderman, W. M. E., Mol, L., & Krahmer, E. (2015b). Pantomime production by people with aphasia: What are influencing factors? Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, accepted for publication.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventSeventh meeting of the Internation Society for Gesture studies - Paris, France
Duration: 18 Jul 201622 Jul 2016


ConferenceSeventh meeting of the Internation Society for Gesture studies
Abbreviated titleISGS7


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