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Pointing as a device for focusing attention in dialogue
Responsable du projet Adrian Bangerter
   
Collaborateur Eric Chevalley
   
Résumé The communicative value of demonstrative (pointing) gestures in dialogue remains unclear. Researchers have claimed that pointing is ambiguous or redundant with verbal language. Many such claims are based on the assumption that pointing is used to identify a referent (e.g., when pointing and saying that’s my car, the pointing gesture identifies the referent of the word that). But other lines of argument suggest that pointing may instead typically serve to focus the attention of the addressee on a particular subregion of visual space. By doing so, speakers can assume that their addressees are only looking at a few potential referents, which therefore simplifies the referring situation and thus the demands placed on production and comprehension of verbal language. The goal of the planned research is to resolve this issue. Previous experimental work on pointing comprehension, while suggestive, has not studied pointing in the context of dialogue. On the other hand, field studies have done so, but they do not control for important factors, such as referential ambiguity. Thus it is planned to investigate how pointing gestures are used in combination with verbal language in referring. Two experiments are planned to combine control with the possibility of spontaneous interaction. They involve pairs of people speaking and gesturing freely to identify targets among distractors. Communication will be videotaped and the combinations of verbal and gestural strategies employed will be analysed. The planned research has implications for ongoing debates in cognitive science and coordination of collaborative work as well as practical implications for the design of instructional and communications technology (e.g., artificial tutors, videoconferencing systems).
   
Mots-clés Pointing, gesture, deixis, dialogue, focusing attention, conversation
   
Type de projet Recherche fondamentale
Domaine de recherche Psychologie
Source de financement FNS
Etat Terminé
Début de projet 1-1-2004
Fin du projet 31-12-2005
Budget alloué 45'482
Contact Adrian Bangerter