Graduate and Postdoc Research Projects

Coordinating Conversation Multimodally: A Role for Shrug Gestures in Preference Organization
Natalie Dowling, Kennedy Casey
In this experiment we use a conversation analysis framework to ask how pragmatic shrug gestures perform functions like negotiating turn-taking, taking epistemic and affective stance, and positioning a speaker in relation to talk. We use anticipatory eye-tracking and responsive finger-tapping measures to monitor third-party observers’ experiences of everyday conversation to determine whether and how the presence of pragmatic gestures impacts the expectations we hold for cooperative, coordinated face-to-face discourse.

What makes certain co-speech gesture memorable and whether co-speech gesture produced by students predicts learning?
Hannah Guo, Michelle Madlansacay
Despite large individual differences in personal experience and memory performance, people tend to remember and forget the same visual information. Such effect has been shown in static images, videos, and dance movements. In this study, we investigate whether there are communicative gestures that are consistently better remembered by adults, and if so, what attributes could account for some gestures being more memorable than others.

Repetition reduction across the ASL lexicon
Aurora Martinez del Rio
This project explores how reduction is realized across the lexicon in American Sign Language (ASL) to further situate reduction patterns in ASL within current theories of language production. It uses the lens of repetition reduction, a phenomenon in which repeated forms exhibit reduction effects, to test how lexical signs and fingerspelled words reduce as they are repeated and how this impacts the perception of these forms. Through a corpus study paired with a discrimination study, this investigation uses the distinct properties of these parts of the lexicon to provide insights into what constraints shape the way that people produce language.

Pragmatic tolerance and delayed first language acquisition
Nina Semushina, Rachel Miles (UCSD), Monica Keller (U of Arizona)

What Role Does Instruction Using Sign Language with Gesture Play in deaf children’s Math Learning?
Nina Semushina, Zena Levan

Casey Ferrara

Social Gestures
Anjana Chandran