Universität Bielefeld Technische Fakultät - AG Wissensbasierte Systeme

Representation and Processing of Shape in Coverbal Iconic Gestures

Ipke Wachsmuth

Faculty of Technology & Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF)
University of Bielefeld


In face-to-face dialogue, verbal descriptions of object shape are frequently accompanied by gestures expressing meaning via similarity to the referent, so-called iconic gestures. While speech is a symbolic modality of communication unfolding in time, iconic gestures embody mental images and unfold in time and space. This talk presents a study (conducted with Timo Sowa) examining the morphological variety of shape-related iconic gestures and the way they express aspects of object shape. It is shown that information about object extent, boundary, and part structure is reflected both in coverbal gestures and their verbal affiliates. A computational model for the representation and processing of object shape is proposed which is targeted for coverbal iconic gesture comprehension and production in an embodied (virtual) agent.

Talks: Delmenhorst 25-10-2005, Bonn 24-08-2006

Ipke Wachsmuth, last updated 2006-08-27