Taking action in hand: effects of gesture observation on action verb naming

Ana Murteira*, Paul F. Sowman, Lyndsey Nickels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Previous research suggests that meaningful gestures in the absence of speech (i.e. pantomimed gestures) influence lexical processing, but, the extent to which pantomimes affect word retrieval is poorly understood. We investigated the relationship between pantomimes and action verb retrieval. Across two experiments, we showed that naming an action picture with a verb was facilitated by the observation of a congruent gesture, relative to both an unrelated gesture and a neutral stimulus which did not differ in their effects. Priming effects were also found to be affected by gesture transparency. This study provides the first demonstration of cross-modal gesture priming of verb retrieval in picture naming. We suggest that facilitation of verb retrieval from pantomimed gestures is consistent with priming at either the semantic level or lexical level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-364
Number of pages14
JournalLanguage, Cognition and Neuroscience
Issue number3
Early online date4 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • action
  • gesture
  • priming
  • verbs
  • naming


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