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Evidence for a Multimodal Lombard Effect: Speakers modulate not only speech but also gesture to overcome noise

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Trujillo,  James P.
Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, External Organizations;
Other Research, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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Ozyurek,  Asli
Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, External Organizations;
Research Associates, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;
Multimodal Language and Cognition, Radboud University Nijmegen, External Organizations;

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Holler,  Judith
Communication in Social Interaction, Radboud University Nijmegen, External Organizations;
Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, External Organizations;
Other Research, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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Drijvers,  Linda
Communication in Social Interaction, Radboud University Nijmegen, External Organizations;
Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, External Organizations;
Other Research, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;
The Communicative Brain, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Trujillo, J. P., Ozyurek, A., Holler, J., & Drijvers, L. (2020). Evidence for a Multimodal Lombard Effect: Speakers modulate not only speech but also gesture to overcome noise. PsyArXiv Preprints. doi:10.31234/osf.io/3jdmq.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-9CE8-5
Abstract
In everyday conversation, we are often challenged with communicating in non-ideal settings, such as in noise. Increased speech intensity and larger mouth movements are used to overcome noise in constrained settings (the Lombard effect). How we adapt to noise in face-to-face interaction, the natural environment of human language use, where manual gestures are ubiquitous, is currently unknown. We asked Dutch adults to wear headphones with varying levels of multi-talker babble while attempting to communicate action verbs to one another. Using quantitative motion capture and acoustic analyses, we found that 1) noise is associated with increased speech intensity and enhanced gesture kinematics, and 2) acoustic modulation of the speech signal only occurs when gestures are not present, while gesture kinematic modulation occurs regardless of co-occurring speech. Thus, in face-to-face encounters the Lombard effect is not constrained to speech but is a multimodal phenomenon where gestures carry most of the communicative burden.