We have been taught in our childhood that it’s rude to point. But some scientists claim otherwise. As per these study authors, gesturing could aid in enhancing communication. Psychological scientist Spencer Kelly from Colgate University, along with Asli Ozyurek and Eric Maris from Radboud University Nijmegen (The Netherlands) want to examine the communication between speech and gesturing and how significant this association could be for language.
The study involved volunteers observing small videos of general movements like washing dishes or cutting vegetables. After that, they saw a 1-second video of a gesture and a spoken word. In the congruent trials, the speech and gestures were connected. For instance, if someone said ‘chop’ then even the gesture was of chopping. But in the incongruent trials, even though the spoken word was ‘chop’, a twisting gesture was shown. Thus they were not related. The volunteers had to apparently signify whether the speech and gesture were connected to the first video they viewed.
The outcomes is said to have disclosed that the congruent trials were performed in a better way as compared to incongruent trials by the volunteers. It was observed that they seemed to be quicker and more precise when the gesture and spoken word were related. Moreover, these results appeared to duplicate when the volunteers were asked to focus only on the spoken word and not the gesture.
Taken together, these findings supposedly propose that when gesture and speech express matching information, they are apparently simpler to comprehend as compared to the time they express diverse information. Additionally, these outcomes seemed to signify that gesture and speech could develop into an integrated method that assists in understanding language.
The study authors commented, “These results have implications for everyday communicative situations, such as in educational contexts (both teachers and students), persuasive messages (political speeches, advertisements), and situations of urgency (first aid, cock pit conversations).”
As per the experts, they propose that that the best manner for speakers to get their message understood is to coordinate what they say with their words with what they do with their hands. They conclude by mentioning that that if one really wants to make their point clear and readily understood, let their words and hands do the talking.
The findings were published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.