A Trip to the Overlooked World of Hand Gestures

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1994, Vol 39(1), 55–56. Reviews the book, Hand and Mind: What Gestures Reveal About Thought by David McNeill (1992). In his book, McNeill escorts the reader on a trip through the overlooked world of hand gestures. By reading it, one would discover that some well-defined standard classes underlie the infinite variety of hand gestures that a speaker's hand can produce. One would learn about emblems, the conventional gestures that are codified within each culture and that can be used as a substitute for speech. One would discover the iconics, by which the speaker sketches the object or event of the outer world referred to in the speech, the metaphorics, by which some abstract concept one has in mind is given form, the deictics, which point to some physically or mentally present referent, and the beats, those punctuating movements occurring predominantly when the speaker shifts from one level to another one in the narrative structure of his or her speech. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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