The Nijmegen Gesture Centre (NGC), co-directed by prof. Asli Ozyurek and dr. Judith Holler, brings together the interests of researchers concerned with the study of gestures across the campus of Radboud University Nijmegen, including the Language & Communication theme at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition & Behaviour, as well as the Centre for Language Studies, and at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. The purpose of the Nijmegen Gesture Centre is to conduct and promote basic research on gestures, to facilitate interactions and intellectual exchange among gesture researchers through lecture series, workshops, etc., and ultimately to help put gesture on the research agendas in other disciplines.
Gesture research in Nijmegen started in 1993 as part of the Gesture project at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, a project co-ordinated by dr. Sotaro Kita. At the end of this project in 2003, the NGC was initiated and co-ordinated by prof. Marianne Gullberg and prof. Asli Ozyurek till 2010.
Over the past decade, the themes and research topics covered in Nijmegen have expanded and now cover several aspects ranging from the study of form and meaning of gestures to their role in cognition and communication.
The current research topics among NGC members include:
the cognitive processes underlying the use of gestures (e.g., speech and gesture production and comprehension, the perception of gestures)
gestures use in social interaction
the neurocognition of gesture
cross-linguistic and cross-cultural variations in gesture use
first and second language acquisition and gesture, multilingual gesture use
the relationship between gestures, signs, and not fully conventionalised gesture systems (homesigns)
the evolution of gesture
the interface between gesture and other systems (e.g. prosodic)