Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 172–183 | Cite as

Physiographic gestures as decoding facilitators: Three experiments exploring a neglected facet of communication

  • Margaret Gwendoline Riseborough


There is a dearth of studies exploring the role of gestures in the communication of “experience”, i.e., events “external” to the speaker; whereas much research has been concerned with gestures as expressions of attitudes and emotion. This state of affairs has tended to reinforce the premature assumption that gestures serve functions quite different from those of speech. Three experiments reported here were designed to investigate this neglected role examining specifically, physiographic gestures (pgs). A variety of tasks were devised; information pertaining to each being recorded on videotape and presented under varying modal conditions. It was found that pgs do contribute to the communication of events “external” to the speaker. Possible mechanisms are discussed.


Modal Condition Social Psychology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Allport, G. W. & Vernon, P. E.Studies in Expressive Movement. New York: The McMillan Co. Ltd., 1933.Google Scholar
  2. Argyle, M.Social Interaction. London: Methuen, 1969.Google Scholar
  3. Argyle, M., Slater, V., Nicholson, H., Williams, M., & Burgess, P. The communication of inferior and superior attitudes by verbal and nonverbal signals.British Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 9 1970, 222–231.Google Scholar
  4. Berger, K. W. & Popelka, G. R. Extra-facial gestures in relation to speech reading.Journal of Communication Disorders 1971,3 302–308.Google Scholar
  5. Birdwhistell, R. L.Kinesics and Context. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1970.Google Scholar
  6. Duncan, S. & Rosenthal, R. Vocal emphasis in experimenter's instruction reading as unintended determinant of subjects' responses.Language and Speech 1968,11 20–26.Google Scholar
  7. Efron, D.Gesture, Race and Culture. New York: King's Crown, 1972.Google Scholar
  8. Freud, S. Fragment of an analysis of a case of hysteria.The Standard Edition of the Complete Works of S. Freud (Vol. 7). London: Hogarth Press, 1905, 77–78.Google Scholar
  9. Graham, J. A. & Argyle, M. A cross-cultural study of the communication of extra-verbal meaning by gestures.International Journal of Psychology 1975,10 57–67.Google Scholar
  10. Kendon, A. Some functions of gaze direction in social interactions.Acta Psychologica 1967,26 22–63.Google Scholar
  11. Paivio, A.Imagery and Verbal Processes. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971.Google Scholar
  12. Scheflen, A. E.Communicational Structure. Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1973.Google Scholar
  13. Sumby, W. H. & Pollack, I. Visual contribution to speech intelligibility in noise.Journal of the Acoustic Society of America 1954,26 212–215.Google Scholar
  14. Wolffe, C.A Psychology of Gesture. London: Methuen, 1954.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret Gwendoline Riseborough
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BradfordEngland

Personalised recommendations