Aphasia and dialogue: What eye movements reveal about the processing of cospeech gestures and the prediction of turn transitions

Preisig, Basil (2016). Aphasia and dialogue: What eye movements reveal about the processing of cospeech gestures and the prediction of turn transitions. (Dissertation, Graduate School for Health Sciences, University of Bern, Faculty of Medicine)

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Two intriguing aspects of human communication are the occurrence of co-speech gestures and the alternating exchange of speech acts through turn-taking. The present thesis aimed to investigate both aspects by means of eye movement recordings in patients with poststroke aphasia. In particular, it was assessed whether patients’ linguistic deficits lead to
altered visual processing of co-speech gestures and whether aphasic impairments have an impact on the capability to predict turn transitions.
The findings obtained from two studies imply that co-speech gesture processing is not affected in aphasic patients. On the contrary, we found that patients benefit from multimodal information provided through the congruent presentation of speech and co-speech gestures. However, aphasic patients’ focused less on the visual speech component (i.e.,
fewer fixations on the speaker’s face). This could be an indicator for a general deficit to integrate audio-visual information causing aphasic patients to avoid interference between the visual and the acoustic speech signal. In a third study, we addressed the frequency and the precise timing of eye movements in relation to the turn transitions between speaking actors. Patients with aphasia shifted their gaze less frequently according to the flow of the conversation, although there was no difference with regard to the timing of their gaze shifts.
In this study, we could further show that higher lexico-syntactic processing demands lead to a reduced gaze shift probability in aphasic patients. This finding might imply that patients miss more opportunities to make their own verbal contributions when talking to their family
Future studies should target gesture processing and turn-taking capabilities in aphasic patients during face-to-face interaction. This is important in order to verify if the presented findings can be generalized to patients’ everyday life.

Item Type:

Thesis (Dissertation)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR) > DCR Unit Sahli Building > Forschungsgruppe Neurologie
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > Translational Research Center
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology

Graduate School:

Graduate School for Health Sciences (GHS)

UniBE Contributor:

Preisig, Basil, Müri, René Martin


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
400 Language > 410 Linguistics
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health


[4] Swiss National Science Foundation


[1216] Aphasia and Gesture




Basil Preisig

Date Deposited:

05 Apr 2017 15:23

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:57

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Aphasia, Gesture, Turn-Taking, Eye-Tracking, Eye Gaze





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