Here we report the results of an experiment aimed to investigate the effects of different hand gestures on emotional and attitudinal reactions of receivers through the measure of physiological indexes (facial muscles activity, heart rate, and eye blinking). A videotape was shown to 50 University students, in which an actress presented a speech with a disagreeable verbal content, namely the proposal of increasing University fees. The verbal message included the presentation of four arguments (two strong and two weak) in support of the proposal. During her speech, the actress manipulated “Gesture Type” in order to achieve five conditions (ideational gestures, discursive gestures, object-and self-adaptors, and no gesture as control). ANOVAs reveal that the different type of gestures differently modulate the negative impact of disagreeable verbal content on receivers in different moments of the speech and interact with strong or weak arguments in determining negative reactions to the disagreeable verbal message. In particular, it seems that discursive (conversational and ideational) gestures are more capable to counteract the negative effect of the arguments. These results give a further contribution to a better understanding of the crucial role of gestures in providing characteristics of speech perception, also in terms of persuasion.
Maricchiolo, F., Gnisci, A., Cerasuolo, M., Ficca, G., Bonaiuto, M. (2016). Speaker’s hand gestures can modulate receiver’s negative reactions to a disagreeable verbal message. In L. Anna Esposito (a cura di), Intelligent Systems Reference Library (pp. 133-146). Springer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH [10.1007/978-3-319-31056-5_8].