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Journal Article

Beat gestures influence which speech sounds you hear


Bosker,  Hans R.
Psychology of Language Department, MPI for Psycholinguistics, Max Planck Society;
Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, External Organizations;

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Bosker, H. R., & Peeters, D. (2021). Beat gestures influence which speech sounds you hear. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 288: 20202419. doi:10.1098/rspb.2020.2419.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-B4BE-9
Beat gestures—spontaneously produced biphasic movements of the hand—
are among the most frequently encountered co-speech gestures in human
communication. They are closely temporally aligned to the prosodic charac-
teristics of the speech signal, typically occurring on lexically stressed
syllables. Despite their prevalence across speakers of the world’s languages,
how beat gestures impact spoken word recognition is unclear. Can these
simple ‘flicks of the hand’ influence speech perception? Across a range
of experiments, we demonstrate that beat gestures influence the explicit
and implicit perception of lexical stress (e.g. distinguishing OBject from
obJECT), and in turn can influence what vowels listeners hear. Thus, we pro-
vide converging evidence for a manual McGurk effect: relatively simple and
widely occurring hand movements influence which speech sounds we hear