Multimodal and Multisensory Characteristics of Deictic Communication

Arikan, Gozdem (2023) Multimodal and Multisensory Characteristics of Deictic Communication. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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When people communicate, they use a combination of modalities - speech, gesture and eye gaze - to engage and transmit information to an addressee. Deictic communication is a paradigmatic case, with spatial demonstratives (this/that) frequently co-occurring with eye gaze and pointing gestures to draw the attention of an addressee to an object location (e.g., this cup; that chair). The use of deictic expressions can be influenced by range of spatial, perceptual, cognitive and social parameters. This PhD Thesis has two foci: the multimodal characteristics of deictic communication, and the implications of multisensory perception on demonstrative choices. In relation to the first focus, four online experiments are presented which investigated the relative importance of spatial demonstratives, pointing and eye gaze as deictic expressions. The results from these experiments overall suggest a dominant effect of pointing gesture in cueing object position, with demonstratives as a relatively weaker means of deictic reference. The nuanced effects and interactions between different modalities are discussed. In relation to the second focus, the notion that spatial perception is a determinant of demonstratives (peripersonal versus extrapersoanl space) is considered in the context of the multisensory nature of peripersonal space. Using a haptic adaptation for a previously validated methodology eliciting spatial demonstrative use (Coventry et al., 2004), in two experiments, we look at the implications of sensory domain(s) used for spatial perception on demonstrative use, testing use of demonstratives when participants can see, feel, or see and feel objects prior to referring to them. Results, including some testing of visually impaired individuals, shows that the effect of referent distance on demonstrative use remains stable irrespective of the modality used to experience space. In the final chapter, general implications of the findings and ideas for future research are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2024 11:57
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2024 11:57


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