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Perception of co-speech gestures in aphasic patients: a visual exploration study during the observation of dyadic conversations


Preisig, Basil C; Eggenberger, Noëmi; Zito, Giuseppe; Vanbellingen, Tim; Schumacher, Rahel; Hopfner, Simone; Nyffeler, Thomas; Gutbrod, Klemens; Annoni, Jean-Marie; Bohlhalter, Stephan; Müri, René M (2015). Perception of co-speech gestures in aphasic patients: a visual exploration study during the observation of dyadic conversations. Cortex, 64:157-68.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Co-speech gestures are part of nonverbal communication during conversations. They either support the verbal message or provide the interlocutor with additional information. Furthermore, they prompt as nonverbal cues the cooperative process of turn taking. In the present study, we investigated the influence of co-speech gestures on the perception of dyadic dialogue in aphasic patients. In particular, we analysed the impact of co-speech gestures on gaze direction (towards speaker or listener) and fixation of body parts. We hypothesized that aphasic patients, who are restricted in verbal comprehension, adapt their visual exploration strategies.

METHODS: Sixteen aphasic patients and 23 healthy control subjects participated in the study. Visual exploration behaviour was measured by means of a contact-free infrared eye-tracker while subjects were watching videos depicting spontaneous dialogues between two individuals. Cumulative fixation duration and mean fixation duration were calculated for the factors co-speech gesture (present and absent), gaze direction (to the speaker or to the listener), and region of interest (ROI), including hands, face, and body.

RESULTS: Both aphasic patients and healthy controls mainly fixated the speaker's face. We found a significant co-speech gesture × ROI interaction, indicating that the presence of a co-speech gesture encouraged subjects to look at the speaker. Further, there was a significant gaze direction × ROI × group interaction revealing that aphasic patients showed reduced cumulative fixation duration on the speaker's face compared to healthy controls.

CONCLUSION: Co-speech gestures guide the observer's attention towards the speaker, the source of semantic input. It is discussed whether an underlying semantic processing deficit or a deficit to integrate audio-visual information may cause aphasic patients to explore less the speaker's face.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Co-speech gestures are part of nonverbal communication during conversations. They either support the verbal message or provide the interlocutor with additional information. Furthermore, they prompt as nonverbal cues the cooperative process of turn taking. In the present study, we investigated the influence of co-speech gestures on the perception of dyadic dialogue in aphasic patients. In particular, we analysed the impact of co-speech gestures on gaze direction (towards speaker or listener) and fixation of body parts. We hypothesized that aphasic patients, who are restricted in verbal comprehension, adapt their visual exploration strategies.

METHODS: Sixteen aphasic patients and 23 healthy control subjects participated in the study. Visual exploration behaviour was measured by means of a contact-free infrared eye-tracker while subjects were watching videos depicting spontaneous dialogues between two individuals. Cumulative fixation duration and mean fixation duration were calculated for the factors co-speech gesture (present and absent), gaze direction (to the speaker or to the listener), and region of interest (ROI), including hands, face, and body.

RESULTS: Both aphasic patients and healthy controls mainly fixated the speaker's face. We found a significant co-speech gesture × ROI interaction, indicating that the presence of a co-speech gesture encouraged subjects to look at the speaker. Further, there was a significant gaze direction × ROI × group interaction revealing that aphasic patients showed reduced cumulative fixation duration on the speaker's face compared to healthy controls.

CONCLUSION: Co-speech gestures guide the observer's attention towards the speaker, the source of semantic input. It is discussed whether an underlying semantic processing deficit or a deficit to integrate audio-visual information may cause aphasic patients to explore less the speaker's face.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
Social Sciences & Humanities > Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
Life Sciences > Cognitive Neuroscience
Language:English
Date:March 2015
Deposited On:31 Oct 2019 13:44
Last Modified:31 Jul 2020 03:43
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0010-9452
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2014.10.013
PubMed ID:25461716

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