FRAL - Appel Franco-allemand en sciences humaines et sociales

Gesture as a Cultural Marker - The role of beat gesture in social preferences and learning in French and German infants and children – SocialGesture

Submission summary

This project proposes an innovative approach to studying the role of gesture in social evaluations and learning across development. Social judgements shape our social world, and can lead to discrimination or conflict. Despite ample evidence that the language someone speaks and their accent drive social preferences, research to date has not addressed how the gestures that routinely accompany speech influence social evaluation. However, gestures are universal, and they show cross-cultural variation. In the proposed project, we will study gesture along with language to uncover the social preferences that result from the integration of multiple communicative cues. We will develop a unique and high-quality set of videos that will manipulate the background of gesture (native vs foreign), and of language (native vs foreign). We will use this set of videos to test the role of gesture in social preferences (WP1), and social learning (WP2) in 5-year-old children and 12-14-month-old infants. More specifically, we will test how different combinations of gesture and language (both native, both foreign, or mismatched) affect social preferences and learning across development. This project will provide the first evidence about the link between gestural communication and intergroup cognition, and how it unfolds across development. This could lead to new research and breakthroughs in our understanding of gestural communication and its connection to other cognitive processes. This project brings together two experienced developmental scientists with expertise in cultural learning, gesture research and nonverbal communication: Dr Cristina Galusca, a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Neurocognition Laboratory at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Grenoble, France, and Prof Gerlind Grosse, from the University of Applied Sciences in Potsdam, Germany.

Project coordination

Cristina-Ioana Galusca (Laboratoire Interuniversitaire de Psychologie, Personnalité, Cognition, Changement Social)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


Laboratoire de Psychologie et Neurocognition
LIP/PC2S Laboratoire Interuniversitaire de Psychologie, Personnalité, Cognition, Changement Social

Help of the ANR 312,607 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: October 2023 - 36 Months

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