UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Language & Cognition seminar - Prof Sotaro Kita

02 February 2022, 1:00 pm–2:00 pm

Logo of LangCog Seminar Series

Wednesday 2 February 2022. 1-2pm UK time. "Gesture, language and thought: gestures as a window into the mind." Talk held online.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to





Disa Witkowska

Gesture, language and thought: gestures as a window into the mind.

We produce gestures spontaneously not only when we speak ("co-speech gestures"), but also when we think without speaking ("co-thought" gestures). I will first review the evidence that co-speech gestures are highly sensitive to what goes on in speech production. For example, gestural representation of motion events varies as a function of the linguistic structures used to encode motion events.  Gestures are produced more frequently when it is difficult to organise ideas for linguistic expression. Despite these pieces of evidence for a tight link between gesture and language, there are indications that gesture production is dissociable from speech production. Furthermore, new evidence shows that there are important parallelisms between co-speech gestures and co-thought gestures, suggesting that these two types of gestures are produced from the same mechanism. Furthermore, split brain patients' gesturing suggest that speech production and co-speech gesture production are neuroanatomically dissociable. I will conclude that gestures are produced from a mechanism that is inherently independent from, but highly interactive with, the speech production process.

About the Speaker

Prof Sotaro Kita

at Department of Psychology, University of Warwick

More about Prof Sotaro Kita