Politicians use gestures to strengthen the delivery of speeches, while many people shrug or move their hands wildly to make a point. Now, scientists have shown that gesticulating while talking is part of language and affects how the meaning of words is interpreted. Researchers believe that gestures form part of a communication system deeply ingrained in humans, which allow us to be understood. This might explain why many of us gesture while talking on the phone, where our actions can’t be seen.
Dr Marina Nespor, a neuroscientist at the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA) of Trieste, Italy, who carried out the research set out to explore why humans find it difficult to keep still while speaking. She thinks it’s because gestures and words ‘very probably’ form a single communication system, which serves to enhance expression and help us to make ourselves understood. ‘In human communication, voice is not sufficient:…
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