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Perception of co-speech gestures in aphasic patients: A visual exploration study during the observation of dyadic conversations

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Preisig Basil C., Eggenberger Noëmi, Zito Giuseppe, Vanbellingen Tim, Schumacher Rahel, Hopfner Simone, Nyffeler Thomas, Gutbrod Klemens, Annoni Jean-Marie, Bohlhalter Stephan, Müri René M.,
Project Aphasia and co-speech gestures
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Cortex
Volume (Issue) 64
Page(s) 157 - 168
Title of proceedings Cortex
DOI 10.1016/j.cortex.2014.10.013


Background: Co-speech gestures are part of nonverbal communication during conversations. They either support the verbal message or provide the interlocutor with additional information. Furthermore, they prompt as nonverbal cues the cooperative process of turn taking. In the present study, we investigated the influence of co-speech gestures on the perception of dyadic dialogue in aphasic patients. In particular, we analysed the impact of co-speech gestures on gaze direction (towards speaker or listener) and fixation of body parts. We hypothesized that aphasic patients, who are restricted in verbal comprehension, adapt their visual exploration strategies. Methods: Sixteen aphasic patients and 23 healthy control subjects participated in the study. Visual exploration behaviour was measured by means of a contact-free infrared eyetracker while subjects were watching videos depicting spontaneous dialogues between two individuals. Cumulative fixation duration and mean fixation duration were calculated for the factors co-speech gesture (present and absent), gaze direction (to the speaker or to the listener), and region of interest (ROI), including hands, face, and body.