Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Short Communication

Are human gestures in the present time a mere vestige of a former sign language? Probably not

Pierre Feyereisen a1

a1 Department of Psychology, University of Louvain, PSP/CODE, B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium


Right-hand preference for conversational gestures does not imply close connections between the neural systems controlling manual and vocal communication. Use of speech and gestures may dissociate in some cases of focal brain damages. Furthermore, there are limits in the ability to combine spoken words and concurrent hand movements. These findings suggest that discourse production depends on multiple components which probably have different evolutionary origins.