Degree Date



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Few investigators have directly examined possible sources of readily observable individual differences in gesture production. The current study was designed to systematically document the wide variability in gesture production between individuals and the relative stability within individuals' gesture production across task. It was also designed to evaluate the extent to which such variability and stability are related to enduring personal characteristics including verbal skill, visual-spatial skill and personality. Results showed that the high degrees of variability across and stability within participants were related to only a few personal characteristics with any consistency. Specifically, beat gestures and metaphoric gestures were moderately related to individuals' self-ratings of Neuroticism, and iconic gestures were found to be strongly related to self-rated Agreeableness as measured by the NEO Five Factory Inventory (NEO-FFI). There was no evidence of significant relationships between gesture frequency or type and cognitive skills such as verbal skill (measured by the Woodcock Johnson Verbal Fluency subtest) or visual-spatial skill (measured by the Paper Folding and Ornamentation Tests from the Kit of Factor Referenced Tests). The relevance of these findings to the gesture literature at large and to theories of gesture production in particular is discussed, and implications for future gesture research are proposed.


Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair: Robert H. Wozniak
Committee Members: Clark R. McCauley, Marc S. Schulz, Kimberly W. Cassidy, Melissa J. Pashigian