Including facial gestures in gesture-speech ensembles

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Conversational facial gestures fit Kendon’s (2004) specifications of the functions of hand gestures. We illustrate how facial gestures in dialogue, like hand gestures, convey referential content as well as serving pragmatic, interpersonal and interactive functions. Hand and facial gestures often occur together, creating an integrated visual image in gesture–speech ensembles. A semantic features analysis demonstrates how speakers adjust their use of these visible versus audible expressive resources according to context. Speakers who were interacting face-to-face (compared to speakers who could not see their addressee) were significantly more likely to rely on their hand and facial gestures than on their words when describing key semantic features, and their gestures were more likely to convey information that was not in their words.


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