Candidate for a faculty position in the Department of Psychology
Laura Morett, Ph.D.
The University of Alabama
When Hands Speak As Loud as Words: Insights from Gesture and Sign Language Concerning the Cognitive and Neural Mechanisms of Learning.
Gestures—meaningful hand movements—are often produced with speech, conveying complementary information visually. Similarly, signs can convey information about the shape and motion of referents via visual iconicity. In this talk, I will describe my investigations into the neurocognitive mechanisms of gesture-speech integration and sign processing, focusing specifically on their impact on learning. First, I will demonstrate that iconic and metaphorical signs are learned more easily than arbitrary signs and that enactment of signs facilitates their acquisition by hearing adults. Second, I will show how gestures and comparable non-embodied movements affect the learning and perception of lexical tones in an unknown second language as well as non-speech tones. Third, I will discuss key neurophysiological mechanisms of gesture-speech integration. I will conclude by discussing how the findings of my research can inform interventions to enhance learning.
When and Where
Open to the Public