Asymmetric dynamic attunement of speech and gestures as children learn: competing synergies?

Lisette de Jonge-Hoekstra, Steffie van der Steen, Paul van Geert, Ralf Cox

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic


Gestures and speech are mostly well-aligned. However, during difficult tasks, gesture-speech mismatches occur. This study investigates the dynamic interplay between gestures and speech as 12 children perform a hands-on air pressure task. We applied Cross Recurrence Quantification Analysis on the time series of understanding levels displayed in gestures and speech. We focused on: 1) the temporal relation between gestures and speech, 2) the relative strength and direction of the coupling between gestures and speech (overall and for different levels of understanding), and 3) the relations between recurrence measures and some child characteristics. Strength, direction, and timing of the coupling between gestures and speech were different for younger and older children, as well as for children who performed well on math and past tasks, or on a language task. We suggest that the observed asymmetric dynamic attunement reflects the simultaneous and at times competing coordination of synergies for gestures and speech instead of a disembodied cognitive capacity.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8-Jul-2016
Event14th European Workshop on Ecological Psychology -
Duration: 6-Jul-20168-Jul-2016


Conference14th European Workshop on Ecological Psychology
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