In Klaus Opwis and Iris-Katharina Penner (eds.): Proceedings of KogWis05,
The German Cognitive Science Conference (pp. 112-117). Basel: Schwabe, 2005.
Humans use spontaneous gestures when communicating. But what these gestures convey is still an open question and several findings indicate that they fall short of communicating semantic information. This paper presents a study in which naive observers had to draw images of what they saw in isolated iconic gestures. The detailed analyses of these drawings showed that observers were able to reliably extract visuospatial information from the gestures, with different hand shapes, movements, or hand orientations being differently salient and interpretable. In contrast to previous findings, these results suggest that iconic gestures can reach a level of specificity that makes them to an expedient means of conveying visuospatial information.