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Effects of personality and social situation on representational gesture production

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The present study investigated the correlation between speakers’ self-reported Big Five personality traits (extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness to experience) and their representational gesture production. In addition, possible interactions between the speakers’ personality traits and the social situation, specifically whether the gestures could be seen by the listener or not, were examined. We found that extraversion and neuroticism both positively correlated with representational gesture production. We also found an interaction between extraversion and visibility condition. While speakers produce more gestures when their audience can see them than when their audience cannot, this difference is smaller for speakers who report high levels of extraversion than it is for other speakers. The findings suggest that both the personality of the speaker as well as aspects of the social situation are important contributors to how frequently speakers gesture.

Keywords: extraversion; gesture; personality; visibility

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2012-01-01

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