Should pantomime and gesticulation be assessed separately for their comprehensibility in aphasia? A case study

K van Nispen, Mieke Koenderman, L (Linda) Mol, E Krahmer

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Background Gesticulation (gestures accompanying speech) and pantomime (gestures in the absence of speech) can each be comprehensible. Little is known about the differences between these two gesture modes in people with aphasia. Aims To discover whether there are differences in the communicative use of gesticulation and pantomime in QH, a person with severe fluent aphasia. Methods & Procedures QH performed two tasks: naming objects and retelling a story. He did this once in a verbal condition (enabling gesticulation) and once in a pantomime condition. For both conditions, the comprehensibility of gestures was analysed in a forced-choice task by naive judges. Secondly, a comparison was made between QH and healthy controls for the representation techniques used. Outcomes & Results Pantomimes produced by QH for naming objects were significantly more comprehensible than chance, whereas his gesticulation was not. For retelling a story the opposite pattern was found. When naming objects QH gesticulated much more than did healthy controls. His pantomimes for this task were simpler than those used by the control group. For retelling a story no differences were found. Conclusions & Implications Although QH did not make full use of each gesture modes' potential, both did contribute to QH's comprehensibility. Crucially, the benefits of each mode differed across tasks. This implies that both gesture modes should be taken into account separately in models of speech and gesture production and in clinical practice for different communicative settings.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)265-271
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Language & Communication Disorders
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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