What's your point? Insights from virtual reality on the relation between intention and action in the production of pointing gestures

Raghavan, R., Raviv, L. and Peeters, D. (2023) What's your point? Insights from virtual reality on the relation between intention and action in the production of pointing gestures. Cognition, 240, 105581. (doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2023.105581)

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Human communication involves the process of translating intentions into communicative actions. But how exactly do our intentions surface in the visible communicative behavior we display? Here we focus on pointing gestures, a fundamental building block of everyday communication, and investigate whether and how different types of underlying intent modulate the kinematics of the pointing hand and the brain activity preceding the gestural movement. In a dynamic virtual reality environment, participants pointed at a referent to either share attention with their addressee, inform their addressee, or get their addressee to perform an action. Behaviorally, it was observed that these different underlying intentions modulated how long participants kept their arm and finger still, both prior to starting the movement and when keeping their pointing hand in apex position. In early planning stages, a neurophysiological distinction was observed between a gesture that is used to share attitudes and knowledge with another person versus a gesture that mainly uses that person as a means to perform an action. Together, these findings suggest that our intentions influence our actions from the earliest neurophysiological planning stages to the kinematic endpoint of the movement itself.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:DP was supported by a Veni grant (275-89-037) awarded by De Nederlandse organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO, the Dutch Research Council). The funding source had no involvement in the study.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Raviv, Dr Limor
Authors: Raghavan, R., Raviv, L., and Peeters, D.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Cognition
ISSN (Online):1873-7838
Published Online:11 August 2023
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2023 The Authors
First Published:First published in Cognition 240:105581
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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