Volume 19, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1568-1475
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9773
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The aim of this paper is to explore speech-accompanying gesture use in presentation of medically unexplained symptoms (MUS). The data are 19 video-filmed semi-structured interviews with patients presenting MUS. Four patterns of gestural behaviors are established in symptom presentation: (1) No gesturing; (2) Overall low gesture rate; (3) Overall high gesture rate with low rate for symptoms; (4) Overall high gesture rate with high rate for symptoms. The patients with overall low gesture rate tend to perform deictic gestures, pointing to exact locations of the symptoms; those with overall high gesture rate and low symptom rate produce metaphorics, and those who gesticulate at high rates – mainly iconics and metaphorics. Although exact factors that lead to the four types of gesturing patterns are unclear, the findings encourage medical professionals to attend to the information in gesture use in order to obtain a better understanding of the patient’s experience of MUS.


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