First Advisor

L. David Ritchie

Date of Publication

Fall 12-2-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Communication






Speech and gesture, Imagery (Psychology), Interpersonal communication



Physical Description

1 online resource (vii, 116 pages)


To better understand representational gestures used in everyday talk, this study explores the ways participants talk about their own mental imagery and gestural awareness, and how their comments affect analysis. Literature pertaining to representational gestures, mental imagery, gestural awareness, and self-report data provide the theoretical framework for the study's design and implementation. Data is drawn from observations of two video recorded dyads engaged in everyday conversation, and four audio recorded interviews with each participant individually as they viewed and commented on selected video segments in which they had produced a representational gesture. Findings indicate that participants talked about mental imagery and gestural awareness in ways that were descriptive, explanatory, and self-reflective. They described their mental imagery in i) visual and motor terms, ii) as mental simulations, iii) as textural sensations, and iv) in linguistic metaphors. Participants talked about gestural awareness in terms of i) spontaneity, ii) intentionality, and iii) affective states. Taken altogether, participant comments suggest embodied cognition as a useful framework for analyzing and understanding representational gestures. Further, findings indicate that participant comments served to i) confirm, ii) clarify, and/or iii) expand my analysis, suggesting that participant comments can enhance understanding of mental imagery and gestural awareness in ways that could not be achieved by a researcher's observations and analysis alone.


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Persistent Identifier

Included in

Communication Commons