Mirrored movements : how experts and novices coordinate understanding through embodied action

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Sosnoff, Katherine L.

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In this paper I explore coordinated body movements and the ways in which participants in a learning activity organize that activity through use of the body. Much investigation has gone into the role of speech in interactive settings, but less is known about how the movements of the body contribute to the processes of maintaining joint attention, focusing and orienting participants, or regulating the flow of an activity. Mirrored behavior, in which one person’s movement of body, head or hand is paired with similar movements by another participant, correlates with participants’ alignment not just to one another but also to the activity underway. I argue that there are eight important ways that participants use coordinated body movements and accompanying speech to orient to and regulate the computer learning activity. These include 1) completing a task, 2) explaining the program at a conceptual level, 3) expressing understanding, 4) seeing something new, 5) orienting and focusing, 6) seeking help, 7) bidding for control of the mouse, and 8) inquiring about state of mind. Through the complex coordination of movement and speech participants jointly alter the path of the ongoing activity



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