Cognitive Constraints on the Use of Visible Speech and Gestures

Laura A. Thompson

Gestures and visible speech cues are often available to listeners to aid their comprehension of the speaker’s meaning. However, visual communication cues are not always beneficial over-and-above the audible speech cues. My goal is to outline several types of constraints which operate in the human cognitive processing system that bear on this question: When do visual language cues (visible speech and gestures) provide an aid to comprehension, and when do they not? Research on visual-spoken language comprehension carried out in my lab over recent years is described and recommendations will be made concerning the design of multi-modal interfaces.

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