COMM.LAB in the News

In the fall of 1998, a brief article summarizing research at COMM.LAB on gesture and lexical retrieval [Krauss, R.M. (1998). Why do we gesture when we speak? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 7, 54-59] caught the media's attention. Research described in the article was the subject of stories in Newsweek and the Washington Post's science section (syndicated in the US and elsewhere), and several familiar faces turned up on TV.

In January of '99, the ABC morning show Good Morning America broadcast a segment taped in the lab. The early-morning broadcast was widely seen, especially by families of the participants. For some of what viewers saw and heard, click HERE.

Shortly after that, the New York correspondent of Globo-TV (reportedly seen by umpty-million people in Brazil) and one guy, who was the lighting-sound-cameraman, came by to tape a feature for their nightly news report. They did the taping in less then 45 minutes, paused only to ask whether we knew of any good Portugese restaurants in New York, and raced off to their next assignment. They promised to send us a copy of the tape, but they never did, so we can't show you any clips

Then, in the spring of '99, NBC's Dateline came to Columbia to tape a piece on gesture and speech. The segment was broadcast on June 19th, 2000, just about a year after it was taped. It since has been rebroadcast at least once on MS-NBC, and possibly elsewhere as well. In addition to subjects run in COMM.LAB and some pontification by Bob Krauss, the segment also included Jana Iverson talking about her work on gesturing in congenitally blind kids, along with clips of her subjects talking (and gesturing). Overall reaction to the piece was pretty good. For some clips from the Dateline segment, click HERE.

In addition, Bob Krauss has lost track of the number of magazine and radio interviews he's given, and the number of inane questions he's answered ("Here at Radio 860 we have on the line live from New York Professor Robert Krauss of Columbia University, who is an expert on gestures. I guess you see plenty of gesturing back there in the Big Apple, eh Professor?")

Apart from the mixed blessing of being recognized by various people around the university ("Hey, I saw you on TV last night. The Nature Channel, right?" "Um, I think you have me confused with Washow the chimp."), the media exposure has brought in a raft of mail (both e- and snail-). Although some of it was a bit demented and a few inexplicably nasty, for the most part they were from people who found the work interesting and wanted to let us know. It was nice of them to take the time to write.

All in all, our fifteen minutes of fame seems to have worked out okay.