Gesture Focus Group



Description of events


The Gesture Focus Group Speakers’ Series brings distinguished researchers from the field of gesture studies to the Stony Brook University community. The Speakers’ Series is intended to expose interested students to the research and methodological techniques of international experts of the field through intensive workshops. These workshops are intended to provide advanced training for students already involved in gesture-related research projects and to incite the interest and provide theoretical and methodological foundations to those new to the field.

The first two events of the Speakers’ Series are aimed at introducing students to different methodological approaches for analyzing speech-accompanying gestures.

Cornelia Müller’s workshop provides advanced training in methodological approaches for analyzing speech-accompanying gestures.  The first part of the workshop gives a theoretical introduction to her work on a grammar of gesture.  The second part is a hands-on tutorial on coding the physical features of gestures.  The third part gives students the opportunity to practice coding gesture data from their corpora, to present their current projects, and to exchange ideas about future research directions. 

Mandana Seyfeddinipur's workshop (Dec.1,2 2006) focused on coding how gestures structurally unfold over time in relation to speech “Gesture structure: phases, phrases and units”.

We hope that we will continue to recruit successfully new speakers for the Gesture Focus Group Speakers’ Series so that a continued dialog is established between young Stony Brook researchers and the broader gesture community.

Gesture Focus Group Speakers’ Series: 

Forms and meanings of gestures: A linguistic approach to the description and analysis of gestures.

Guest speaker: Cornelia Müller, European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Germany

Location: Stony Brook University, Department of Psychology, A 113

Date:  03/02/07- 03/03/07

Cornelia Müller is a Full Professor of Applied Linguistics at the European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder), Germany. Prior to her position in Frankfurt, she worked as Assistant Professor at the Free University Berlin, where she founded the Berlin Gesture Center, an interdisciplinary institute for gesture studies. Cornelia Müller is also a founding member of the International Society of Gesture Studies (ISGS). Together with Adam Kendon, she is the editor of the journal Gesture (John Benjamins). Her research approaches the analysis of gesture from a linguistic perspective and investigates cross-cultural differences in gesture use, aspects of iconicity in gestures, and multimodal metaphors. This year, she received a grant from the German Volkswagen Foundation for an interdisciplinary project on developing the foundations of a grammar of gesture “Towards a grammar of gesture: evolution, brain, and linguistic structures”.



Friday, March 2nd 2007

9:00- 9:30        Welcome

Session 1: Theory

9:30 -10:30      Towards a grammar of gestures: Evolution, brain, and linguistic structures.—bringing together linguistic, primatological, and neurological approaches to gesture analysis.


10:30- 11:00    Coffee Break


11:00 -12:00    How hands turn into gestures: modes of gestural representation


12:00- 1:00      Lunch Break


1:00- 2: 00       Forms and meanings of gestures: A linguistic approach to the description and analysis of gestures.


Session 2: Methods


2:00- 3:00        General principles of gesture annotation.


3:00- 3:30        Coffee Break


3:30- 4:30        Coding form features: simultaneous and linear structures


4:30- 5:30        Reconstructing the meaning of performative (recurrent) and referential (spontaneous)  gestures in context (including metaphoric gestures).


5:30- 6:00        Summary & Discussion


Evening Program (participation optional)

6: 00                Dinner at the Curry Club


8:00        “When the Sea Dies: An Heroic Quest”

Origins and Destinies Dance/Theater Company

Directed by Amy Yopp Sullivan

Staller Center Theater 1

(please purchase your ticket at Box Office: 631-632-ARTS)



Saturday, March  3rd 2007

Session 3: Student Presentations

10:30-11:00     Coffee & Bagels


10:00- 11:00    The Migration of Thought and Action in the Choreographic Process.

Amy Sullivan, Department of Theater Arts, Stony Brook University.


12:00-1:00       From Speaker to Speaker: Repeated Gestures across Dyads.

Anna Kuhlen, Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University.


1:00-1:30         Coffee & Bagels


1:30- 2:30        Reproducing Natural Behaviors in Conversational Animation.

Matthew Stone & Insuk Oh, Department of Computer Science, Rutgers University.


2:30-3: 30  -TBA-

Georgios Tsrdanelis, Department of Linguistics/Psychology, Stony Brook University


3:30-4: 30        Given-new Attenuation Effects in Speech and Gesture Production.

Alexia Galati, Department of Psychology, Stony Brook University



Saturday, March 3rd 2007

Session 3: Student Presentations

10:00- 11:00    Student Presentation I


11:00- 11:30    Coffee Break


11:30- 12:30    Student Presentation II


12:30- 1:30      Lunch


1:30- 2:30        Student Presentation III


(possibly more student presentations)