Re: the role of externalization

From: Etienne Pelaprat (
Date: Sat Jun 05 2004 - 20:02:27 PDT

I would add, in addition to the regulation of self, also the regulation of
others and context to the functions such gestures can serve, in particular
when gesture is superimposed. or interaction with, various artifacts. I
am thinking of the recent work by Ed Hutchins examining the role of
various drawing, pointing and tracing gestures performed by navy bridge
operators over a nautical chart. Such gestures construct "shared objects"
used to control the operations and actions of spatially proximal agents
(hunched over the chart); these gestures only make sense given the
structure of the artifact itself and its local meaning given the activity
engaged by the various actors looking at and interacting with the chart.


> The idea that people are self-regulating their thoughts when they gesture
> while they speak - especially obvious (now that this is pointed out) when
> they are talking to themselves, when they are on the phone, etc. - is
> still
> another gem from the treasure chest of CHAT-related research and theory
> for
> me to marvel at and think about. A couple questions immediately come to
> mind. Has there been any evidence that gesturing-as-self-regulation can
> be
> improved on as a skill, thereby enhancing one's cognitive awareness and
> abilities? (Counting on one's fingers is one possible example; how
> about sign language? etc.). And how about certain verbal habits, such as
> saying "uh" or "um" while pausing -- might, and if so, how might these
> kinds of utterances play a role in self-regulation?
> - Steve

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