Publication details [#2265]

Cornejo, Carlos, Franco Simonetti, Agustín Ibáñez, Nerea Aldunate, et al., Francisco Ceric, Vladimir López and Rafael E. Núñez. 2009. Gesture and metaphor comprehension: Electrophysiological evidence of cross-modal coordination by audiovisual stimulation. Brain and Cognition 70 (1) : 42–52. 11 pp.


In recent years, studies have suggested that gestures influence comprehension of linguistic expressions, for example, eliciting an N400 component in response to a speech/gesture mismatch. In this paper, we investigate the role of gestural information in the understanding of metaphors. Event related potentials (ERPs) were recorded while participants viewed video clips of an actor uttering metaphorical expressions and producing bodily gestures that were congruent or incongruent with the metaphorical meaning of such expressions. This modality of stimuli presentation allows a more ecological approach to meaning integration. When ERPs were calculated using gesture stroke as time-lock event, gesture incongruity with metaphorical expression modulated the amplitude of the N400 and of the late positive complex (LPC). This suggests that gestural and speech information are combined online to make sense of the interlocutor's linguistic production in an early stage of metaphor comprehension. Our data favor the idea that meaning construction is globally integrative and highly context-sensitive. (Carlos Cornejo, Franco Simonetti, Agustin Ibanez, Nerea Aldunate, Francisco Ceric, Vladimir López and Rafael E. Nunez)