Assistant Professor of
PhD in Psychology & Linguistics, University of Chicago (2006)
Research interests: Co-speech gesture, pragmatics, embodied cognition, construction grammar, social cognition, attention.
Research summary: I study the psychological processes involved in producing and understanding language. My work is a bit non-traditional, though: I'm interested in the gestures people produce
while they're speaking.
To understand why a language researcher might study gesture, it helps to know a couple of things. First of all, when people talk, they move their
hands and arms around. Second, these motions are not just expressive (in the sense of adding emotional content to a person's speech). They have meaning that is very intricately
connected to what the speaker is saying. In fact, the relationship between the information expressed by the two modalities (speech and gesture) is so close that many researchers
believe gesture should be considered part of the language system. I study the relationship between gesture and speech because it's quite informative about a speaker's underlying
mental representations--the thoughts she is encoding in language.
You can learn more by taking a look at my CV or by visiting the Gesture and Cognition