case western reserve university



Science Café Cleveland




"Using the hands to see inside the head:


How studying gestures can reveal


the way we think"




April 8, 2013




Fey Parrill

Assistant Professor, Department of Cognitive Science

Case Western Reserve University







If you watch people talking, you'll notice they’re also moving their hands and arms around, or gesturing. Why do we do this? What’s the function of these gestures? What can studying them tell us about the human mind? In this Science Café, we’ll touch on some of the most interesting findings in this research area, including:


How gestures can tell us when a child is about to learn a new concept, and teachers pay attention to these gestures.

How misleading gestures can trick people, even when speech is not misleading.
How gestures can reveal important differences in how people of different cultures think.
How politician’s gestures can give us clues about what’s going on in their heads.






University of Chicago News Office, May 21, 2003.

"Students use hand signals to show teachers they are ready to learn: Teachers respond to the subtle gestures without realizing"



University of California, San Diego News, June 12, 2006

Backs to the Future: Aymara Language and Gesture Point to Mirror-Image View of Time by Inga Kiderra



ScienceDaily, July 29, 2010

Good and Bad in the Hands of Politicians







Fey Parrill has loved language since she was 15. She completed a BA in Linguistics from UC Berkeley in 2000 and a joint PhD in Psychology and Linguistics from the University of Chicago in 2006. She joined the Department of Cognitive Science at CWRU in 2006. Fey leads the Gesture and Cognition Lab, where people can be found gesturing wildly for the good of science.





WHERE: The Market Garden Brewery

(Located at 1947 West 25th Street next to the West Side Market, Cleveland, Ohio)


WHEN: April 8, 2013

Discussion starts around 7:00 pm.

*Please Note* A few of our cafes have approached capacity and/or standing room only. If you want to be 100% sure to get in and get a good seat, you might want to arrive a bit early.


WHO: Sponsored by Case Western Reserve University chapter of Sigma Xi, WCPN

ideastream, and the Market Garden Brewery


Click here to download a pdf flyer of the event