Trying to get your point across? For a quick response, try moving.
Sure, you can jump around and dance if you like, but new research shows that if you simply move your hands or your head while you talk, it can be of benefit for the listener.
“Bodily signals appear to profoundly influence language processing in interaction,” says Judith Holler of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands.
“Questions accompanied by gestures lead to shorter turn transition times- that is, to faster responses- than questions without gestures,” she added.
To come up with their findings, Holler and her research team analyzed the conversations of seven groups of three participants. Each group had their interactions recorded on video, while they chatted for twenty minutes, and researchers analyzed each conversation to see what role the body language of the participants played.
In each interaction the participants moved their head and hands in some way, and the listeners responded even faster when the gestures ended before they’d finished speaking.
Of course, we’re talking about milliseconds here. It’s not as if you’re going to have more time to clean the house and meditate if you start using hand gestures when you talk.
The study does get at the complex nature of human interactions though, and makes you wonder how we developed the capacity to speak to one another, and where we might be going with verbal communication as a species, in the future.
Going solo for the moment? Here are some of the benefits of talking to yourself.