Her palm-down was used twice in argumentative verbal contexts to emphasize speaking points. It occurred twice near the end of her conversation with Gail, with non-argumentative statements accompanied by an overloud voice. As she spoke to George, Gail's palm-up gestures co-occurred with vocally expressed uncertainty e. The values and variables of each dimension are outlined below: 1 Social: Defer vs. Assert Analysis of the conversations suggested that social deference and assertiveness are core meanings, respectively, for palm-up and palm-down cues. Each of these linguistic constructions was accompanied by palm-up gestures.
Each of these linguistic constructions was accompanied by palm-down gestures. Certainty Analysis found values of uncertainty and certainty, respectively, to be characteristic of palm-up and palm-down cues. Feelings of certainty or uncertainty have been characterized as human emotions MacLean , Damasio , Kagan Each of these linguistic constructions was accompanied by palm-up hand gestures. Definite semantic constructions are basically declarative sentences used to assert that a statement is specific, clearly defined, and factual.
Palm-down cues--which have qualities of assertiveness, certainty, and definiteness--cluster in the right-top-back corner of the cube. Socially, emotionally, and semantically, palm-up and palm-down hand gestures are as far as possible removed and separated from one another at opposite corners of the cube. Indeed, palm-up and palm-down plot as complementary, mirror-polar opposites. Along with other hand gestures, palm-up-and-down cues originated in a common brain area that is hundreds of millions of years older than either sign language or vocal speech see below: 4.
Moreover, while palm-up is mediated by older spinal circuits below the brain, the more recent palm-down cue is controlled by newer circuits within the brain itself. That palm-up-and-down hand motions accompany speech is due wholly or in part to these neural fiberlinks between vocalizing via the larynx and gesturing with forelimbs and hands. Muscles that today move the larynx and pectoral-girdle evolved from hypobranchial muscles that originally opened the mouths and gill openings of ancient fishes. All are pectoral gestures tendered to announce physical presence.
Though not often classified as such, uncertainty is an emotion Kagan , a feeling of indecision, misgiving, or doubt.
According to Damasio , an uncertain feeling is a secondary emotion, mediated by the limbic system via the amygdala and anterior cingulate gyrus , and is linked to cognitive thought processes by circuitry in prefrontal, sensory, and association modules of the cerebral cortex. The palm-up gesture itself is one of 13 constituents in a larger, shoulder-shrug display of uncertainty Givens b. The display, which also includes a lateral head-tilt to the right or left side, originates from a protective crouch posture innervated by circuits for flexion withdrawal.
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The shoulder-shrug display was first identified by Darwin , who noted instances of shrugging as a cue of helplessness in aboriginal Australia and North America, Africa, India, Malaya, and Micronesia. In the shoulder component of the larger display, upper trapezius mediated by CN XI, a special visceral nerve and levator scapulae muscles lift the scapulas. Trapezius assisted by pectoralis major, p. These muscular movements are incredibly ancient.
In a fish, this muscle lifts the whole set of gills up dorsally when it contracts" Cartmill et al. As a branchiomeric muscle, upper trapezius--like the facial muscles of expression--is emotionally responsive and may contract by other than conscious means.
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Upper trapezius is innervated by the accessory nerve cranial XI , a special visceral nerve that also feeds into the larynx; thus, shrugs and softer, higher-pitched i. Why does a palm supinate when one asks a question? On the efferent outgoing or production side, upraised palms are gestural byproducts of an ancestral crouch display, a protective vertebrate posture designed to be defensive rather than offensive. Neural roots of palm-up cues reach back further in time than palms themselves--at least million years--to protective nerve circuits for flexion withdrawal.
These circuits reflexively bend the ancestral body wall--and later the neck, arms, and legs--away from danger. Note that palm-up cues tend to be one-handed unilateral when stimulated by sideward head turns and tilting the head left or right, but two-handed bilateral when the neck bends forward or backward Ghez We do not ordinarily make conscious choices about these gestures. Emotions responsible for palm-up movements are located above the spinal cord in defensive areas of the forebrain's limbic system notably the amygdala , passing through basal ganglia and brain-stem links to the spinal cord below.
The emotional brain unthinkingly touches off flexor-withdrawal movements designed to protect from real or imagined harm. When we see a palm-up hand gesture, mirror neurons set up a motor template, a prototype or blueprint in our own brain, that allows us to read the cue. Palm-down cues mark emotional feelings of certitude Givens Though not often classified as such, certainty is an emotional feeling that something is real, right, and true.
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Feelings of certainty come not from brain areas that mediate rationality and conscious reflection, but from evolutionary older emotion centers of the limbic brain MacLean , p. These areas include the cingulate gyrus, amygdala, hippocampus, hypothalamus, ventral tegmentum pleasure pathway , and supraorbital cortex Burton , p. The amygdala acting through reptilian areas of basal ganglia [MacLean , Grillner ] mediates palm-down gestures. That we show dominance by pronating, extending, and figuratively stomping with our forelimbs reflects the amygdala's evolutionary kinship with the basal ganglia.
While the former directs an emotional stance, the latter governs a physical stance in relation to gravity. Thus, slapping a desktop for emphasis is not unlike a sumo wrestler's ceremonial stomp in the ring. Both are postural displays to demonstrate stability, strength, and standing on the earthly plain. There are fundamental differences in the evolution of forelimb and hindlimb communication. In the tetrapod transition from water to land, forelimbs functioned as tactile antennae to sense the tangible boundaries between water and land. Thus, from the very beginning pectoral forelimbs played an exploratory role in their direct communication with the tactile properties of terra firma.
In this matter pelvic hindlimbs played a secondary role. Moreover, pronated forelimbs enabled early amphibians to crawl forward on land, and to raise the head and pectoral portion of the body above shallow waterlines. Evolution of hindlimbs, meanwhile, was secondary and played a lesser role in communication than in supporting body weight on dry land. High-stand postures in tetrapods date back perhaps million years to fossils of the oldest known North-American amphibian, Hynerpeton bassetti , that show forelimbs strong enough to do a pushup akin to the socially assertive press-up postures of today's lizards, basilisks, and iguanas.
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In reptilian neurology, the basal ganglia-ansa lenticularis pathway reverberated links between the amygdala and basal ganglia via the ansa lenticularis and lenticulate fasciculus to the midbrain tegmentum, red nucleus, and reticular system to spinal cord interneurons required for the high-stand display. In human neurology, palm-down gestures derive from postural signs mediated by basal ganglia via the brain stem's reticulospinal tract to motor neurons acting on muscles that control stance in relation to gravity.
Movements and postures of expansion evoke a strong, automatic reaction known as the looming response, seen in birds just three hours after hatching, and in puppies at two weeks of age. At 14 days, human infants will avoid a rapidly dilating shape projected to "loom" on a screen--as if they already knew the danger portended by large objects.
A steady increase in the size of a projected shadow also produces avoidance movements in frogs, chicks, and turtles Russell Of the toad, Porter writes, "It will inflate its body with air, making itself appear much larger, or it will bow its head forward, thus forming its body into a crouched ball" , p.
Chameleons turn a broadside toward enemies to visually "expand" in size, or crouch down to lower their profile and "shrink" Cloudsley Thompson Even limbless snakes appear "bigger"--or "smaller"--through illusory size. To threaten, the hognose snake rises vertically, widens its head like a cobra, thrusts its body forward, and makes loud hissing noises.
But to surrender, it reverses the display: gasps feebly, rolls over on its back, shudders, and plays dead Porter Like fish and lizards, cattle turn a broadside when threatened to show their biggest, most fearsome angle. The antelope's dark dorsal line frames its broadside silhouette for illusory size and "nearness. Mountain gorillas beat broadened chests as body hair erects and the larynx roars. In summary, from the standpoint of bioneurology, palm-up-and-down gestures have deep evolutionary roots in the vertebrate nervous-system for social communication.
Palm-up and palm-down gestures are well adapted for expressing, respectively, key contrasts in deference and assertion. Indeed, for Homo , object-naming has a special relationship with the fabrication of tools. Neuroscientists have established that flaking a stone tool and uttering a related word or phrase about the act of flaking make use of closely connected brain areas.
Language is considered to be between thousand Lieberman and two-million Gibson years old. It is likely that the ability to communicate with spoken and manual signs--and the ability to manufacture artifacts such as stone tools--evolved in tandem. Handling, seeing, making, and carrying stone implements likely stimulated conceptual categories for gestures and word labels which aided in teaching the young.
Through their relationship with tools and artifacts, it appears that human beings became information-sharing primates of the highest order. Before saying a word, the tongue had been a humble manager of "food tossing. The trick was not getting bitten in the process. As upright posture evolved, the throat grew in length, and the vocal larynx was retrofit lower into the neck. As a result the larynx, originally a mammalian organ for calling and announcing presence, increased its range as the dexterous tongue waited to speak. Pavlov observed laboratory dogs as they paired the sound of human footsteps incoming auditory with memories of meat stored mental concepts.
Not only did the meat itself cause Pavlov's dogs to salivate, but the mental concept of meat--memories of mealtimes past--was recalled by the sound of human feet. Pairing one sensation with memories of another, known as sensitization or associative learning, is an ancient ability shared by Homo and simpler animals, including sea slugs. MRI studies suggest that children who make early, skilled use of the digits of the right hand in playing the guitar, e. Thus, Pleistocene youngsters precociously introduced to tool-making may have developed enhanced neural circuitry for the task.
While the circuitry itself was not passed on, there was a likely genetic transmission of the neuroplasticity enabling new circuits to adapt.
Presumably, those with greater neuroplasticity were better able to make and use artifacts and tools. An artifact is a material object deliberately fabricated by humankind. Like gestures, artifacts have a great deal to express or "say. The English word artifact comes from Latin arte "by skill" and factum "made"; via the Indo-European root dhe -, "to set," "to put"; skill "by hand" is implied. The earliest known artifacts are stone tools. As Hauser , p. Holloway commented on the likely connection in "With all due respect to my esteemed colleague [Iain Davidson], our disagreement doesn't really rest so much on whether or not I see a Broca's area on [fossil cranium] , whichever Homo it turns out to be.
Our disagreement really stems from whether or not the manufacture of stone tools gives us any insights to previous cognitive behavioral patterns, and as I wrote back in , 'Culture: A Human Domain,' in CA [ Current Anthropology ], I think there are more similarities than not between language behavior and stone tool making, and I haven't retreated from this position, because I haven't seen effective rebuttal, just denial" Holloway In Tools, Language and Cognition in Human Evolution , Gibson and Ingold devoted an entire book of readings to the topic, largely confirming that tool making was an important ingredient in the evolution of language.
Recently neuroscientists have identified specific brain modules implicated in the tool-use-language nexus. While researchers today agree that palm supination and pronation movements are valid as gestural entities, there is less agreement about their meaning.
From observations recounted in the present study, palm-up-and-down gestures may be construed as cues primarily used to convey information about social relationship. In face-to-face interaction, palm-up is generally deferential while palm-down is more assertive in meaning. Palm-up-and-down hand gestures have ancient roots and are linked to laryngeal vocalization in a shared hindbrain, upper-spinal-cord region of the vertebrate nervous system.
Unlike mime cues--which are hand gestures used to depict physical, spatial, and temporal relationships among objects, activities, and events Givens --palm-up-and-down signs do not ordinarily make reference to extra-personal or environmental features of the outside world. In this regard they differ, as well, from deictic cues, in which an extended index finger most often the index, due to an extra forearm muscle, extensor indicis, which enhances neural control of the muscular ability to point to indicate the presence or location of environmental objects and their features.
The latter hand signals are of more recent origin, coming at a time when human communication expanded from purely social messages to messages about the external world of objects e. As such, the former, older hand signals--which are still in use today--may indeed be regarded as gestural fossils left over from the original vertebrate system of communication about matters of social relationship.
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