Antonio Pace Augusto Gnisci

Some gestures are better than others: The warmth and competence effect of hand gestures in interaction

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The aim of this study is to investigate the influence of hand gestures on the perception and psychosocial evaluation in terms of warmth and competence of the speaker by the listener. Participants partook in a face-to-face conversation with a confederate and then evaluated her/him. Confederates manipulated four types of gestures (beats, cohesive, illustrators, and self-adaptors, plus a no-gesture condition) and two conversational strategies (ludic, goal-oriented). Results show that, depending on the gesture, naïve people change their judgement of warmth and competence on the gesture and of warmth on the confederate while, contrary to what expected, the effect of gestures was not moderated by strategy. Our experiment shows that hand gestures not only improve the efficacy of communication but also influence the psychosocial evaluation of the speaker by the listener.


  • Gestures
  • Perception
  • Evaluation
  • Interaction
  • Confederates


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