<$BlogRSDUrl$>

Dan Goodman's prediction and politics journal.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php
Public Release: 15-Feb-2004
2004 AAAS Annual Meeting
Adults and children develop gestures that mimic language
The ability to develop a form of communication that becomes an actual language is apparently innate, new University of Chicago research on the use of gestures among deaf children and experiments with adults shows.

From the full press release:
Psychologist Susan Goldin-Meadow's work with adults and children also shows which features of language seem to come more easily, and are therefore resilient, such as using order to convey who does what to whom. Her research also shows which characteristics are more difficult to develop, particularly without linguistic input. She has found that youngsters inventing their own sign language do not form verb tenses, for instance.

For the experiment, the researchers showed the adults a videotape of objects moving in space, for example, a donut-like object moving from an ashtray. The adults were asked to describe the action first using gestures alone and later talking about what they saw.

When they used only gestures, the adults formulated their sentences in the same way: making gestures that represented the stationary object (ashtray), moving object (donut) and action (moving). The order is different from the typical order of an English sentence (the stationary object moves out of the ashtray). In order to determine if that organization reflects something more fundamental about how the mind works, the team then had the adults arrange pictures of the short narrative in two ways: once while talking to a researcher and again while working alone. People who talked about the movement of the donut-shaped object from ashtray to table frequently put the pictures in an order that reflected the spoken English. However, people who organized the pictures without telling someone what they were doing put them in the same order as those who had used gesture only in the earlier experiment: stationary object, moving object and movement.

email Dan Goodman
All comments assumed to be for publication, unless I'm told otherwise.
Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?