Professor Geoff Beattie
ECP2017 Keynote Speaker
Edge Hill University, UK
As a Keynote Speaker at The European Conference on Psychology & the Behavioral Sciences 2017 (ECP2017), Professor Geoff Beattie of Edge Hill University, UK, will look at the role of non-verbal communication in everyday talk. He will argue for the essential unity of speech and gesture in the transmission of thought, and will suggest that we may well have underestimated the communicative power of gestures and failed to see the way that they can reveal our hidden thoughts. His full abstract is available to read below.
Geoffrey Beattie is Professor of Psychology at Edge Hill University, UK. Previously, he was Professor of Psychology at the University of Manchester, UK, as well as a Professorial Research Fellow at the university’s Sustainable Consumption Institute. In 2012 he was Visiting Professor at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA. He received his PhD from Trinity College, University of Cambridge, UK, and is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. He has also been President of the Psychology Section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. He is the author of 20 books with various Chinese, Taiwanese, Brazilian, Italian, Finnish and German editions, and has published over 100 articles in academic journals, including Nature and Nature Climate Change. He was awarded the Spearman Medal by the BPS for “published psychological research of outstanding merit”, and the Mouton d’Or for the best paper in semiotics in 2010. In the past few years his research has been funded by the ESRC, the EU (through the FP7 framework), the British Academy, Tesco and Unilever. He has presented a number of television programmes on BBC1 (“Life’s Too Short”; “Family SOS”), Channel 4 (“Dump Your Mates in Four Days”) and UKTV (“The Farm of Fussy Eaters”). He was also the resident on-screen psychologist for Big Brother for eleven series on Channel 4, specialising in body language and social behaviour. His latest book is entitled Rethinking Body Language. How Hand Movements Reveal Hidden Thoughts (Routledge, 2016). Marcel Danesi, Professor of Semiotics and Linguistic Anthropology at the University of Toronto, Canada, has described the book as “an in-depth and thorough investigation into the many modalities of communication, emotion and cognition involved in body language. It is brilliant and a must read for anyone who is interested in the mind-body-culture nexus that makes humans unique.” Professor Beattie was featured as Routledge’s Author of the Month to coincide with the publication of the book.
Keynote Presentation: Hidden Thoughts: Do Your Hand Gestures Reveal More About You Than You Think?
In this lecture I will take a fresh look at what non-verbal communication does in everyday talk. We know that people express their emotions through bodily communication and that we use bodily communication to signal our attitudes to other people, but here I will suggest that one form of bodily communication, namely the spontaneous movements of the hands that we make when we talk, also reflect aspects of our thinking. These hand movements that accompany everyday talk convey core parts of the underlying message. However, since we have little conscious awareness of these spontaneous hand movements they can be very revealing. We are good at controlling what we say in everyday interaction, but we find it impossible to control the form of these unconsciously generated movements. They may therefore, on occasion, not match the speech, and these gesture-speech mismatches can act as a critical cue to various underlying psychological states, including deception. In deception, the form and structural organisation of co-verbal gestures may systematically change, and these spontaneous, unconscious gestures can “leak” the truth. I have analysed instances where people’s self-reported attitudes to sustainability do not correspond to their implicit attitudes, as measured using various associative tasks that do not require verbalisation, and in such cases gesture-speech mismatches may also arise. In this lecture I will argue for the essential unity of speech and gesture in the transmission of thought, and will suggest that we may well have underestimated the communicative power of gestures and failed to see the way that they can reveal our hidden thoughts.