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Empirical and computational study of iconic gesture-speech integration and its development in preschool children

This project funded by the DFG (German Research Foundation) aims to provide a detailed account of the development of iconic gesturing and its integration with speech in different communicative genres. We will study pre-school children at 4 to 5 years of age to investigate their speech-accompanying iconic gesture use and to develop a computational cognitive model of their development. We apply qualitative and quantitative methods to study children’s speech-gesture behavior and to evaluate our findings with computational cognitive modeling in terms of the following aspects: (1) forms of iconic gesturing, (2) positions of gestures, (3) semantic coordination of speech and gesture, (4) packaging of information.

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