Former NIAS-EURIAS Fellow Markus Koppensteiner (2016/17) who is specialised in Communication Science researched the impact of body motion at NIAS. During his fellowship, he met NIAS theme-group Fellow Greg Siegle (2016/2017), Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Translational Sciences at University of Pittsburgh, whose project focussed on “emotion prosthetics” (technologies that directly enhance physiological processing of emotional information). They found common ground, which resulted in the publication of their brand-new article “Speaking Through the Body”, published in Politics and the Life Sciences.
"Speaking Through the Body: Do People Associate the Body Movements of Politicians with Their Speech?"
When people speak, they gesture. However, is the audience watching a speaker who is sensitive to this link? We translated the body movements of politicians into stick-figure animations and separated the visual from the audio channel. We then asked participants to match a selection of five audio tracks (including the correct one) with the stick-figure animations. The participants made correct decisions in 65% of all cases (chance level of 20%). Matching voices with animations was less difficult when politicians showed expansive movements and spoke with a loud voice. Thus, people are sensitive to the link between motion cues and vocal cues, and this link appears to become even more apparent when a speaker shows expressive behaviours. Future work will have to refine and validate the methods applied and investigate how mismatches between communication channels affect the impressions that people form of politicians.
For more information see: Written @NIAS