Listen to My Body Talk: Gesture Type and Frequency as Markers of Depression
This research investigates differences in gesture use between depressed and non-depressed individuals. Past research clearly articulates the connection between thought and language to what extent one's thoughts are revealed through gesture (McNeill, 1992). Research on depression suggests that there are in fact differences between gesture use in depressed and non-depressed groups (Sweet, Vogel, Bitman, Pazian, under review). The current research extends this work and explores not only the frequency of gesture use but also the type of gestures being used and their production in relation to talk. We hypothesize that depressed individuals are more likely to use gestures in conjunction with negative language and that they are more likely to use smaller gestures. Data were collected from 31 participants (N = 11 depressed). Participants were recruited from the mass testing pool of a large Midwestern university and screened for depression using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depressed Mood Scale (CES-D). Selected participants were divided into depressed (CES-D score, M > 16) and non-depressed groups. A counselor interviewed participants and these interviews were videotaped. Currently, we are in the data analysis stage. Data will be analyzed using chi-square tests.