The Biological Foundations of Gestures: Motor and Semiotic Aspects

By Jean-Luc Nespoulous; Paul Perron et al. | Go to book overview

Introduction

Jean-Luc Nespoulous Paul Perron André Roch Lecours

The present volume is the outcome of a symposium on Gestures, Cultures and Communication, held in May 1982 at Victoria College, University of Toronto. This conference, one of a series of five colloquia which took place during the Third International Summer Institute for Semiotic and Structural Studies, was organized by the Toronto Semiotic Circle. It grew out of an earlier meeting, held in 1980, during the first International Summer Institute, on the Neurological Basis of Signs in Communication Processes, whose proceedings were published in 1981 by the Toronto Semiotic Circle.

The purpose of the 1982 conference was to explore the biological basis of gestures by bringing together investigators working mainly in the fields of anthropology, neurophysiology, neuropsychology and psycholinguistics. A range of important studies on gestural activity was presented in an attempt to deduce from behavioral observations, fundamental issues on the cerebral organization underlying those behaviors. After the symposium, it became apparent that it would be fruitful to investigate and develop further several topics which had been discussed in detail by the participants. Thus, this volume includes revisions of six of the delivered papers prepared by the main speakers as well as three chapters written by the respondants after the conference. Retaining a biological perspective, the editors also invited six other contributors to submit chapters on gestures in areas which only had been touched upon during the meeting.


I. Gestural behavior: Definition

Whereas consensus is often reached as to what could be labeled verbal behavior (its definition, its basic components, its boundaries), this is hardly the case for

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