Measuring Gestures

  • David B. Givens


In standard American English a gesture is “A motion of the limbs or body made to express or help express thought or to emphasize speech” (Soukhanov, 1992, p. 762). The English word “gesture” derives from Latin gerere, “to behave.” This chapter’s scope is narrowed to gestures apart from the face.


Head Movement Mirror Neuron Rubber Tree Nonverbal Sign American Heritage Dictionary 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Altmann, S. (1967). The structure of primate communication. In S. Altmann (Ed.), Social communication among primates (pp. 325–362). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  2. Armstrong, E. (1995). Expansion and stasis in human brain evolution: Analyses of the limbic system, cortex, and brain shape. 65th James Arthur Lecture on the Evolution of the Human Brain. New York: American Museum of Natural History.Google Scholar
  3. Birdwhistell, R. (1952). An introduction to kinesics. Louisville: University of Louisville.Google Scholar
  4. Birdwhistell, R. (1970). Kinesics and context. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania.Google Scholar
  5. Boker, S. M., Cohn, J. F., Theobold, B., Matthews, I., Brick, T. R., & Spies, J. R. (2009). Effects of damping head movement and facial expression in dyadic conversation using real-time facial expression tracking and synthesized avatars. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, 364(1535), 3485–3495. Retrieved from Scholar
  6. Bouissac, P. (1973). La mesure des gestes: Prolegomenes à la semiotique gestuelle. Mouton: The Hague.Google Scholar
  7. Brannigan, C., & Humphries, D. (1972). Human non-verbal behaviour, ameans of communication. In N. G. Blurton-Jones (Ed.), Ethological studies of child behaviour (pp. 37–64). Cambridge: University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Cartmill, M., Hylander, W. L., & Shafland, J. (1987). Human structure. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Chartrand, T. L., & Bargh, J. A. (1999). The chameleon effect: The perception-behavior link and social interaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psycholology, 76(6), 893–910.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cytowic, R. E. (1993). The man who tasted shapes. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.Google Scholar
  11. Darwin, C. (1998). The expression of the emotions in man and animals (3rd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press (Original work published 1872)Google Scholar
  12. De Mente, B. L. (2004). Japan’s cultural code words. North Clarendon, Vermont: Tuttle Publishing.Google Scholar
  13. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, I. (1970). Ethology: The biology of behavior. San Francisco: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.Google Scholar
  14. Eibl-Eibesfeldt, I. (1973). The expressive behaviour of the deaf-and-blind-born. In M. von Cranach & I. Vine (Eds.), Social communication and movement (pp. 163–194). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  15. Ghez, C. (1991). The control of movement. In E. R. Kandel, J. H. Schwartz, & T. M. Jessell (Eds.), Principles of neural science (3rd ed., pp. 533–547). Norwalk, CT: Appleton & Lange.Google Scholar
  16. Givens, D. B. (1976). An ethological approach to the study of human nonverbal communication. Doctoral dissertation, University of Washington. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms).Google Scholar
  17. Givens, D. B. (1977). Shoulder shrugging: A densely communicative expressive behavior. Semiotica, 19(1/2), 13–28.Google Scholar
  18. Givens, D. B. (2005). Love signals: A practical field guide to the body language of courtship. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  19. Givens, D. B. (2013). The nonverbal dictionary of gestures, signs & body language cues. Spokane, Washington: Center for Nonverbal Studies Press. Retrieved from Scholar
  20. Givens, D. B. (2014). Nonverbal neurology: How the brain encodes and decodes wordless signs, signals, and cues. In A. Kostic & D. Chadee (Eds.), Social Psychology of Nonverbal Communication (pp. 9–30). New York: Palgrave-MacMillan Press.Google Scholar
  21. Grant, E. (1969). Human facial expressions. Man, 4, 525–536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Greenberg, N. (2003). Sociality, stress, and the corpus striatum of the green anolis lizard. Physiology & Behavior, 79, 429–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Guyton, A. C. (1996). Textbook of medical physiology (9th ed.). Philadelphia: W. B. Saunders.Google Scholar
  24. Hall, K., & DeVore, I. (1972). Baboon social behavior. In P. Dolhinow (Ed.), Primate patterns (pp. 125–180). San Francisco: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.Google Scholar
  25. Harrigan, J. A. (2005). Proxemics, knesics and gaze. In J. Harrigan, R. Rosenthal, & K. Scherer (Eds.), New handbook of methods in nonverbal behavior research (pp. 137–198). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Huazhong, N., Tony, X. H., Yuxiao, H., Zhenqiu, Z., Yun, F., & Thomas, S. H. (2006). A realtime shrug detector. In Proceedings of the International Conference on Automatic Face and Gesture Recognition, 505–510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Iacoboni, M. (2008). The mirror neuron revolution: Explaining what makes humans social/Interviewer: Jonah Lehrer. Retrieved from Scholar
  28. Iacoboni, M. (2009). Imitation, empathy, and mirror neurons. Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 653–670.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Izard, C.E. (1971). The face of emotion. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.Google Scholar
  30. Kagan, J. (2007). What is emotion?: History, measures, and meanings. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Kupfermann, I. (1991). Genetic determinants of behavior. In E. R. Kandel, J. H. Schwartz, & T. M. Jessell (Eds.), Principles of neural science (3rd ed., pp. 987–996). Norwalk, Connecticut: Appleton & Lange.Google Scholar
  32. LaBarre, W. (1947). The cultural basis of emotions and gestures. Journal of Personality, 16, 49–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lee, J., Neviarouskaya, A., Prendinger, H., & Marsella, S. (2009). Learning models of speaker head nods with affective information. Proceedings of International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction (ACII ‘09), (pp. 9–15). Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.Google Scholar
  34. MacLean, P, D. (1990). The triune brain in evolution. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  35. McClave, E. Z. (2000). Linguistic functions of head movements in the context of speech. Journal of Pragmatics, 32, 855–878.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. McGrew, W. C. (1972). Aspects of social development in nursery school children with emphasis on introduction to the group. In N. G. Blurton Jones (Ed.), Ethological studies of child behaviour (pp. 129–156). Cambridge: University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Mehrabian, A. (1972). Nonverbal communication. New Jersey: Aldine Transaction.Google Scholar
  38. Meltzoff, A. N. (2002). Elements of a developmental theory of imitation. In A. N. Meltzoff & P. Wolfgang (Eds.), The imitative mind: Development, evolution, and brain bases (pp. 19–41). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Morris, D. (1994). Bodytalk: The meaning of human gestures. New York: Crown Publishers.Google Scholar
  40. Navarro, J. (2012). What the shoulders say about us. [Web log message]. Retrieved from Scholar
  41. Ning, H., Han, T. X., Hu, Y., Zhang, Z., Fu, Y., & Huang, T. S. (2006). A realtime shrug detector. Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Automatic Face and Gesture Recognition, 2006, (pp. 505–510). Southampton, United Kingdom: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.Google Scholar
  42. Nori, F., Lipi, A. A., & Nakano, Y. (2011). Cultural differences in nonverbal behaviors in negotiation conversations: Towards a model for culture-adapted conversational agents. In C. Stephanidis (Ed.), Universal access in humancomputer interaction (pp. 410–419). Berlin: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  43. Peterson, W. W., Birdsall, T. G., & Fox, W, C. (1954). The theory of signal detectability. Transactions of the IRE Professional Group on Information Theory, 4(4), 171–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Poggi, I., D’Errico, F., & Vincze, L. (2011). 68 nods. But not only of agreement. In E. Fricke & M. Voss (Eds.), 68 Zeichen für Roland Posner. Ein Semiotisches Mosaik. [68 signs for Roland Posner: A semiotic mosaic]. Retrieved from Scholar
  45. Rizzolatti, G., & Craighero, L. (2004). The mirror-neuron system. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 27, 169–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Rotondo, J. L., & Boker, S. M. (2002). Behavioral synchronization in human conversational interaction. In M. I. Stamenov & V. Gallese (Eds.), Mirror neurons and the evolution of brain and language (pp. 163–171). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
  47. Salmons, S. (1995). Muscle. In P. L. Williams & L. H. Bannister (Eds.), Gray’s anatomy: The anatomical basis of medicine and surgery (38th ed., pp. 737–900). New York: Churchill Livingstone.Google Scholar
  48. Samovar, L. A., Porter, R. E., & McDaniel, E. R. (2007). Communication between cultures. Boston: Wadsworth.Google Scholar
  49. Sapir, E. (1927). The unconscious patterning of behavior in society. In D. Mandelbaum (Ed.), Selected writings of Edward Sapir (pp. 544–559). Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  50. Sommer, R. (1969). Personal space: The behavioral basis of design. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  51. Soukhanov, A. H. (Ed.). (1992). The American heritage dictionary of the English language (3rd ed.). New York: Houghton Mifflin Co.Google Scholar
  52. Soukhanov, A. H. (1993). Word watch. The Atlantic Monthly (October), 135–138.Google Scholar
  53. Soukhanov, A. H. (1995). Word watch. New York: Henry Holt.Google Scholar
  54. Stern, D., & Bender, E. (1974). An ethological study of children approaching a strange adult. In R. Friedman et al. (Eds.), Sex differences in behavior (pp. 233–258). New York: John Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
  55. Thagard, P. (2010). The brain and the meaning of life. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wilbur, R. B. (2000). Phonological and prosodic layering of nonmanuals in American sign language. In K. Emmorey & H. L. Lane (Eds.), The signs of language revisited: An anthology to honor Ursula Bellugi and Edward Klima (pp. 190–214). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.Google Scholar
  57. Williams, J. H. G., Whiten, A., Suddendorf, T., & Perrett, D. I. (2001). Imitation, mirror neurons and autism. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 25(4), 287–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© David B. Givens 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • David B. Givens

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations