Gestures may Help Resolve Disfluencies in Spontaneous Speech

AbstractWe gesture when we talk. Nonetheless, our speech is disfluent at times. The present study investigated whether gestures accompanying disfluencies may facilitate speech production by shortening the duration of disfluencies. Fourteen English-speaking adults were presented with educational videos and told to teach others after seeing these videos. All their disfluencies and gestures were coded. Results reveal that disfluencies accompanied by representational gestures are significantly shorter as compared to if they had been accompanied by non-representational gestures or no gestures at all. There was no significant difference in duration between disfluencies accompanied by the latter two. This suggests that representational gestures may play a role in aiding speakers in the resumption of their speech. Implications for models of how gestures may help speech production are discussed.

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