Kinematics of Evolving Manual Languages in the Lab

Wim Pouw

Manual gestures are often defined as meaningful movements – movement forms that contain a message. The theoretical conundrum is how a movement can contain such content: What allows movements to become meaningful? In this line of research bottom-up approach is developed, where it is investigated whether meaningful gestures are meaningful in virtue of relating consistently with other gestures over time. Using tools from data science to understand the constellated patterning of gestural movements, this line of research aims to unravel the process of signification of movements, without going beyond movement itself. That is, by only analyzing the kinematic trajectory of gesture, can we gain insights into how gestures come to function communicatively?

Wim Pouw is currently a research fellow at the Donders Center for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, where he is working under a personal career grant (VENI grant: PI Wim Pouw).