People with aphasia (PWA) face significant challenges in verbally expressing their communicative intentions. Different types of gestures are produced spontaneously by PWA, and a potentially compensatory function of these gestures has been discussed. The current study aimed to investigate how much information PWA communicate through 3 types of gesture and the communicative effectiveness of such gestures.
Listeners without language impairment rated the information content of short video clips taken from PWA in conversation. Listeners were asked to rate communication within a speech-only condition and a gesture + speech condition.
The results revealed that the participants' interpretations of the communicative intentions expressed in the clips of PWA were significantly more accurate in the gesture + speech condition for all tested gesture types.
It was concluded that all 3 gesture types under investigation contributed to the expression of semantic meaning communicated by PWA. Gestures are an important communicative means for PWA and should be regarded as such by their interlocutors. Gestures have been shown to enhance listeners' interpretation of PWA's overall communication.