Intentional and attentional dynamics of speech-hand coordination
Interest is rapidly growing in the hypothesis that natural language emerged from a more primitive set of linguistic acts based primarily on manual activity and hand gestures. Increasingly, researchers are investigating how hemispheric asymmetries are related to attentional and manual asymmetries (i.e., handedness). Both speech perception and production have origins in the dynamical generative movements of the vocal tract known as articulatory gestures. Thus, the notion of a "gesture" can be extended to both hand movements and speech articulation. The generative actions of the hands and vocal tract can therefore provide a basis for the (direct) perception of linguistic acts. Such gestures are best described using the methods of dynamical systems analysis since both perception and production can be described using the same commensurate language. Experiments were conducted using a phase transition paradigm to examine the coordination of speech-hand gestures in both left- and right-handed individuals. Results address coordination (in-phase vs. anti-phase), hand (left vs. right), lateralization (left vs. right hemisphere), focus of attention (speech vs. tapping), and how dynamical constraints provide a foundation for human communicative acts. Predictions from the asymmetric HKB equation confirm the attentional basis of functional asymmetry. Of significance is a new understanding of the role of perceived synchrony (p-centres) during intentional cases of gestural coordination.
Human Movement Science