New paper in Scientific Reports: Evidence for a Multimodal Lombard Effect: Speakers modulate not only speech but also gesture to overcome noise by James Trujillo, Asli Özyürek, Judith, Holler, & Linda Drijvers.
When speaking in a noisy environment, we tend to speak louder. This helps the listener to understand us better through the noisy, and is called the Lombard effect. In this study, the authors James Trujillo, Asli Özyürek, Judith, Holler, & Linda Drijvers were interested in whether the Lombard effect is truly multimodal, involving not only speech, but also gesture. To find out, they took an experiment to Lowlands (2018) where they asked pairs of people to communicate action words to one another while wearing headphones that played loud multi-talker babble noise. Using motion tracking, qualitative coding, and acoustic analyses, authors found that speakers increase the complexity and/or repetitiveness of gesture kinematics in noisy compared to less noisy environments. Particularly interesting was that the acoustic effect (i.e., louder speech) was less pronounced when there were co-speech gestures. In other words, people seemed to shift more of the communicative burden onto gestures whenever they were used. All together the study shows that communicative adaptation to disruptive noise is a multimodal phenomenon involving not only speech, but also gesture.
Curious to learn more? Read the full article here.