Language Resources and Evaluation

, Volume 41, Issue 3–4, pp 233–254 | Cite as

Emotional gestures in sport



The paper presents a study about the gestures of athletes while reporting emotions. The study was aimed at singling out possible differences in gestural activity of athletes during the telling of their best and worst performances. To analyse the gestures a manual annotation scheme was adopted that classifies each gesture in terms of handshape, motoric structure, meaning, goal, and type. The annotation scheme allows to provide a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the athletes' gestures and consequently to put forward the hypothesis that the mental images expressed by the gestures performed while re-living positive and negative experience contain not only visual and propositional but also sensory-motor and emotional components.


Motor imagery Emotional imagery Gesture 


  1. Ahsen, A. (1984). ISM: The triple code model for imagery and psychopysiology. Journal of Mental Imagery, 8, 15–42.Google Scholar
  2. Banse, R., & Sherer, K. R. (1996). Acoustic profiles in vocal emotion expression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 614–636.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beattie, G. (2003). Visible thought: The new psychology of body language. Hove: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Butler (1998). Psicologia e attività sportiva. II Pensiero Scientifico Editore.Google Scholar
  5. Butterworth, B., & Hadar, U. (1989). Gesture, speech and computational stages: A reply to McNeill. Psychological Review, 96, 168–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Butterworth, B., & Beattie, G. (1978). Gesture and silence as indicators of planning in speech. In R. N. Campbell & P. T. Smith (Eds.), Recent advances in the psychology of language: Formal and experimental approaches (pp. 347–360). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  7. Camras, L. A., Sullivan, J., & Michel, G. (1993). Do infants express discrete emotions? Adult judgements of facial, vocal, and body actions. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 17, 171–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chi, D., Costa, M., Zhao, L., & Badler, N. (2000). The EMOTE model for e_ort and shape. In Proceedings of the 27th Annual Conference on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques. ACM Press/Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., pp. 173–182Google Scholar
  9. Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow. The psychology of optimal performance. New York. Harper and Row.Google Scholar
  10. Currie, G., & Ravenscroft, I. (1997). Mental simulation and motor imagery. Philosophy of Science, 64(1), 161–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Darwin, C. (1872). The expression of the emotion in man and animals. London: John Murray.Google Scholar
  12. de Ruiter, J. P. (1998). Gesture ad speech production. Ph.D. Dissertation, Nijmegen University.Google Scholar
  13. de Ruiter, J. P. (2000). The production of gesture and speech. In D. McNeill (Ed.), Language and gesture (pp. 284–311). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Decety, J. M., Jeannerod, M. G., & Pastene, J. (1991). Vegetative response during imagined moviment is proportional to mental effort. Behavioral Brain Research, 34, 35–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Decety, J., & Jeannerod, M. (1996). Mentally simulated movements in virtual reality. Does Fitts’ law hold in motor imagery? Behavioral Brain Research, 72, 127–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dominey, P., Decety, J., Broussolle, E., Chazot, G., Jeannerod, M. (1995). Motor imagery of a lateralized sequential task is assymetrically slowed in hemi-Parkinson patients. Neuropsychologia, 33, 727–741.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ekman, P. (1982). Emotion in the human face. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Ekman, P. (1985). Telling lies: Clues to deceit in the marketplace, politics, and marriage. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  19. Ekman, P., & Friesen, W. V. (1969). The repertoire of nonverbal behavior. Semiotica, 1, 49–98.Google Scholar
  20. Ekman, P., & Friesen W. V. (1974). Detecting deception from the body or face. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 29, 288–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ellgring, H. (1989). Nonverbal communication in depression. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Feyereisen, P., & Havard, I. (1999). Mental imagery and production of hand gestures while speaking in younger and older adults. Journal of nonverbal behavior. Google Scholar
  23. Freedman, N. (1977). Hands, words and mind. On the structuralization of body movements during discourse and the capacity for verbal representation. In N. Freedman & S. Grand (Eds.), Communicative structures. A psychoanalytic interpretation of communication (S219–S235). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  24. Gerardin, E., Sirigu, A., Lehericy, S., Poline, J. B., Gaymard, B., & Marsault, C. (2000). Partially overlapping neural networks for real and imagined hand movements. Cerebral Cortex, 10, 1093–1104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Goldin-Meadow, S. (2003). Hearing gesture. The Belknap Press of Harvard Univeristy Press.Google Scholar
  26. Hanin, Y. (1993). Optimal performance emotions in top athletes. In S. Serpa, J. Alves, V. Ferreira, & P. Brito (Eds.), Proceedings in the 8th World Congress of Sport Psychology. Lisbon: International Society of Sport Psychology.Google Scholar
  27. Holler, J., & Beattie G. (2002). A microanalytic investigation of how iconic gestures and speech represent core semantic features in talk. Semiotica, 142(1/4), 31–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Izard, C. E. (1977). Human emotions. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar
  29. Jeannerod, M. (1994). Representing brain: Neural correlates of motor intention and imagery. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 17, 187–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jeannerod, M. (2001). Neural simulation of action: A unifying mechanism for motor cognition. NeuroImage, 14,103–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Jeannerod, M., & Frack, V. (1999). Mental imaging of motor activity in humans. Current Opinion in Neurobiology., 9, 735–739.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kendon, A. (1986). Some reasons for studying gesture. Semiotica, 62–1/2, 3–28.Google Scholar
  33. Kendon, A. (2004). Gesture: Visible action as utterance. Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Kita, S., & Ozyurek, A. (2003). What does cross-linguistic variation in semantic coordination of speech and gesture reveal? Evidence for an interface representation of spatial thinking and speaking. Journal of Memory and Language, 48, 16–32.Google Scholar
  35. Kosslyn (1981). The medium and the message in mental imagery. In N. Block (Ed.), Imagery. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  36. Krauss, R. M., Chen, Y., & Chawla, P. (1996). Nonverbal behavior and nonverbal communication: What do conversational hand gestures tell us? In M. Zanna (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 28, pp. 389–450). Tampa: Accademic Press.Google Scholar
  37. Krauss, R. M., Chen, Y., & Gottesman, R. F. (2000). Lexical gestures and lexical access: A process model. In D. McNeill (Ed.), Language and gestures (pp. 261–283). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Kubistant, T. (1986). Performing your best. Champaign: Human Kinetics.Google Scholar
  39. Lang, P. J. (1979). A bio-informational theory of emotional imagery. Psychophysiology, 16(6), 495–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Lang, P. J. (1977). Imagery in therapy: An Informational-processing Analysis of Fear. Behavior Therapy, 9, 862–886.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lowen, A. (1967). Betrayal of the body. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  42. Lowen, A. (1971). The language of the body. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  43. Magno Caldognetto, E., & Poggi, I. (2004). Il parlato emotivo. Aspetti cognitivi, linguistici e fonetici, in Atti del Convegno Nazionale Il parlato italiano, Napoli, 13–15 Febbraio 2003, M. D’Auria (edit) (cd-rom).Google Scholar
  44. Martin, J.-C., Niewiadomski, R., Devillers, L., Buisine, S., & Pelachaud, C. (2006). Multimodal complex emotions: Gesture expressivity and blended facial expressions. International Journal of Humanoid Robotics,3, 269–292.Google Scholar
  45. McNeill, D. (1979). The conceptual basis of language. Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  46. McNeill, D. (2005); Gesture and thought. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  47. McNeill, D. (1992). Hand and mind: What gestures reveal about thougth. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  48. Murphy, S. M. (1990). Models of imagery in sport psychology: A review. Journal of Mental Imagery, 14(3&4), 153–172.Google Scholar
  49. Ozyurek, S., & Kita, S. (1999). Expressing manner and path in English and Turkish: Differences in speech, gesture, and conceptualization. In M. Hahn & S. C. Stoness (Eds.), Proceedings of the Twenty First Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 507–512). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  50. Paivio, A. (1969). Mental imagery in associative learning and memory. Psychological Review, 76(3), 241–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Paivio, A. (1971). Imagery and verbal processes. New York: Rinehart and Winston.Google Scholar
  52. Parsons, L. (1994). Temporal and kinematic properties of motor behavior reflected in mentally simulated action. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 20, 709–730.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Pelachaud, C. (2005). Multimodal expressive embodied conversational agent. Singapore, ACM: ACM Multimedia, Brave New Topics Session.Google Scholar
  54. Poggi, I., & Magno Caldognetto, E. (1997). Mani che parlano. Padova: Unipress.Google Scholar
  55. Pylyshyn, Z. W. (1973). What the mind’s eye tells the mind’s brain: A critique of mental imagery. Psychological Bulletin, 80, 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Rauscher, F. H., Krauss, R. M., & Chen, Y. (1996). Gesture, speech, and lexical access: The role of lexical movements in speech production. Psychological Science, 7, 226–231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Rimè, B., & Schiaratura, L. (1991). Gesture ad speech. In R. S. Feldman & B. Rimè (Eds), Fundamentals of nonverbal behavior (pp. 239–281). New York & Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  58. Schegloff, E. A. (1984). On some gestures’ relation to speech. In J. M. Atkinson & J. Heritage (Eds.), Structures of social action: Studies in conversational analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  59. Scherer, K. R. (1981). Speech and emotional states. In J. Darby (Ed.), Speech evaluation in psychiatry (pp. 189–220). New York: Grune & Stratton.Google Scholar
  60. Scherer, K. R. (1986). Vocal affect expression: A review and a model for future research. Psychological Bulletin, 99, 143–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Scherer, K. R., & Ellgring, H. (2007). Multimodal expression of emotion: Affect programs or componential appraisal patterns? Emotion, 7(1).Google Scholar
  62. Stevens, J. A. (2005). Interference effects demonstrate distinct roles for visual and motor imagery during the mental representation of human action. Cognition, 95, 329–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Suinn, R. (1993). Imagery. In R. N. Singer, M. Murphey, & L. K. Tennant (Eds.) Handbook of research on sport psychology. New York: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  64. Wallbott, H. G. (1990). Mimik im Kontext- Die Bedeutung verschiedener Informationskomponenten fur das Erkennen von Emotionen. Gottingen: Hogrefe.Google Scholar
  65. Wallbott, H. G. (1998). Bodily expression of emotion. European Journal of Social Psychology, 28, 879–986.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Zuckerman, M., Hall, J. A., DeFrank, R. S., & Rosenthal, R. (1976). Encoding and decoding of spontaneous and posed facial expressions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 34, 966–977.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Roma TreRomeItaly

Personalised recommendations