Psychology and Social Sciences


Alexander Orgek



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Alexander Orgek, Psychology
Faculty Mentor: Professor Stephani M. Foraker, Psychology

As a EURO recipient, I assisted Dr. Foraker with an ongoing experiment that investigates how hand gestures can bias or affect understanding of a sentence, either with or without the gestures in place. To test this, we observed an actor reading a multi-sentence event description while performing a gesture on a very specific word, such as a "seasoning" gesture on the word "finished" in the sentence: "She finished the food as the guests sat down." The participant then answered a yes-no question about whether the character did something that was not stated in the multi-sentence prompt itself, in this instance being, "Did she take the food out of the oven?" for which the answer would have been no. I also participated in this part of the experiment, so that I could better understand how it worked and why certain aspects were used. In addition, I analyzed journal articles that contributed to understanding the process of the experiment, managed schedules for efficacy, and adapted online applications to effectively and efficiently continue research during an unusual situation this semester. I have found the research process much more intriguing than I had previously, by exploring the complete process beyond data collection.

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The Hand that Guides: The Impact of Hand Gestures
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