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Gestures as embodied cognition: A neurodevelopmental interpretation

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Fundamental dimensions of behavior include approach, withdrawal, domination, submission, indicating and dearousing maneuvers. Generically, approach involves flexion at many joints, withdrawal involves extension. Dominating involves moving upwards, submitting involves moving downwards. Indicating involves pointing. Repetitive meaningless motions control anxiety. These movement patterns are found in behaviorally simple animals, and in young infants, except for pointing, which emerges in babies at about 11 months of age. When human adults express thoughts that have directional attributes in fact or in metaphor, co-occurring gestures are likely to have corresponding characteristics that are observed early in neuromotor development.

Keywords: approach; brain; domination; embodiment; gesticulations; gestures; submission; synergisms; withdrawal

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2006-01-01

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