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Almost all of my publications are listed at my Google Scholar page.

All recent journal articles and some other publications (including some older journal articles, book chapters and conference proceedings papers) are in the OPEN ACCESS pre-print archvie of the University <>.


Kita, S. (Ed.) (2003). Pointing: where language, culture, and cognition meet. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Saito, H., & Kita, S. (Eds.) (2002). Jesuchaa, kooi, imi [Gesture, action, meaning]. Tokyo: Kyooritsu Shuppan.

Kita, S. (2002). Jesuchaa: kangaeru karada [Gesture: the body that thinks]. Tokyo: Kaneko Shobo.

Peer-reviewed Journal Articles


Montero-Melis, G., Eisenbeiss, S., Narasimhan, B., Ibarretxe-Antuñano, I., Kita, S., Kopecka, A., . . . Bohnemeyer, J. (2017). Satellite- vs. Verb-Framing Underpredicts Nonverbal Motion Categorization: Insights from a Large Language Sample and Simulations. Cognitive Semantics, 3(1), 36-61. Open Access accepted version:

Kita, S., Alibali, M. W., & Chu, M. (2017). How Do Gestures Influence Thinking and Speaking? The Gesture-for-Conceptualization Hypothesis. Psychological Review, 124(3), 245-266. Open Access accepted version:

Argyriou, P., Mohr, C., & Kita, S. (in press). Hand Matters: Left-hand Gestures Enhance Metaphor Explanation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition. Open Access:

Milward, S., Kita, S., & Apperly, I. A. (2017). Individual differences in children’s co-representation of self and other in joint action. Child Development, 88(3), 964-978. Open Access:


Mumford, K. H., & Kita, S. (2016). At 10-12 months, pointing gesture handedness predicts the size of receptive vocabularies. Infancy, 21(6), 751–765. Open Access:

Chu, M., & Kita, S. (2016). Co-thought and co-speech gestures are generated by the same action generation process. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition, 42(2), 257-270. Open Access accepted version:


Sekine, Kazuki, & Kita, Sotaro. (2015). The parallel development of the form and meaning of two-handed gestures and linguistic information packaging within a clause in narrative. Open Linguistics, 1(1), 490-502. Open Access:

Sekine, K., & Kita, S. (2015). Development of multimodal discourse comprehension: cohesive use of space by gestures. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 30(10), 1245-1258. Open Access accepted version:

Sekine, K., Sowden, H., & Kita, S. (2015). The Development of the Ability to Semantically Integrate Information in Speech and Iconic Gesture in Comprehension. Cognitive Science, 39(8), 1855-1880. Open Access accepted version:

Imai, M., Miyazaki, M., Yeung, H., Kantartzis, K., Okada, H., & Kita, S. (2015). Sound symbolism facilitates word learning in 14 month olds. PlosOne, 10(2), e0116494. Open Access:

Asano, M., Imai, M., Kita, S., Kitajo, K., Okada, H., & Thierry, G. (2015). Sound symbolism scaffolds language development in preverbal infants. Cortex, 63, 196-205. Open Access:

Argyriou, P., Byfield, S. & Kita, S. (2015). Semantics is crucial for the right-hemisphere involvement in metaphor processing: Evidence from mouth asymmetry during speaking. Laterality: Asymmetries of Body, Brain and Cognition, 20(2), 191-210. Open Access:


Kita, S., van Gijn, I., & van der Hulst, H. (2014). The non-linguistic status of the Symmetry Condition in signed languages: Evidence from a comparison of signs and spontaneous co-speech gestures. Sign Language and Linguistics, 17, 215-238. Open Access accepted version:

Imai, M., & Kita, S. (2014). The sound symbolism bootstrapping hypothesis for language acquisition and language evolution. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 369(1651). Open Access accepted version:

Milward, S., Kita, S., & Apperly, I. (2014). The development of co-representation effects in a joint task: Do children represent a co-actor? Cognition, 132, 269-279. . Open Access accepted version:

Clay, Z., Pople, S., Hood, B., & Kita, S. (2014). Young children make their gestural communication systems more language-like: Segmentation and linearization of semantic elements in motion events. Psychological Science, 25(8), 1518-1525. Open Access accepted version:

Mumford, K. H., & Kita, S. (2014). Children Use Gesture to Interpret Novel Verb Meanings. Child Development, 85(3), 1181-1189. Open Access accepted version:

Chu, M., Meyer, A., Foulkes, L., & Kita, S. (2014). Individual differences in frequency and saliency of speech-accompanying gestures: The role of cognitive abilities and empathy. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143(2), 694-709. Open Access:


Cappuccio, M., Chu, M., & Kita, S. (2013). Pointing as an instrumental gesture: gaze representation through indication. Humana.Mente Journal of Philosophical Studies, 24, 125-149. Open Access:

So, W. C., Kita, S., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2013). When do speakers point? The role of language proficiency in semantic relation between pointing gestures and speech. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research.


Matsuo, A., Kita, S., Shinya, Y., Wood, G. C., & Naigles, L. (2012). Japanese two-year-olds use morphosyntax to learn novel verb meanings. Journal of Child Language, 39(3), 637-663.


Alibali, M. W., Spencer, R. C., Knox, L., & Kita, S. (2011). Spontaneous Gestures Influence Strategy Choices in Problem Solving. Psychological Science, 22(9), 1138-1144.

Cocks, N., Morgan, G., & Kita, S. (2011). Iconic gesture and speech integration in younger and older adults. Gesture, 11(1), 24-39.

Chu, M., & Kita, S. (2011). The nature of gestures' beneficial role in spatial problem solving. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 140(1), 102-115.

Habets, B., Kita, S., Shao, Z., Özyürek, A., & Hagoort, P. (2011). The role of synchrony and ambiguity in speech-gesture integration during comprehension. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23(8), 1845-1854.

Kantartzis, K., Mutsumi, I., & Kita, S. (2011). Japanese sound symbolism facilitates word learning in English speaking children. Cognitive Science, 35(3), 575-586.


Alibali, M. W., & Kita, S. (2010). Gesture highlights perceptually present information for speakers. Gesture, 10(1), 3-28.


Gullberg, M. & Kita, S. (2009). Modulating addressees’ attention to speech-accompanying gestures: Eye movements and information uptake. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 33(4), 251-277.

Kita, S., & Davies, T. S. (2009). Competing conceptual representations trigger co-speech representational gestures. Language and Cognitive Processes, 24(5), 761-775.

Cocks, N., Sautin, L., Kita, S., Morgan, G., & Zlotowitz, S. (2009). Gesture and speech integration: an exploratory study of a case of a man with aphasia. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 44(5), 795-804.

Kita, S. (2009). Cross-cultural variation of speech-accompanying gesture: A review. Language and Cognitive Processes, 24(2), 145-167. Open Access accepted version:

So, W. C., Kita, S., & Goldin-Meadow, S. (2009). Using the hands to keep track of who does what to whom: Gesture and speech go hand-in-hand. Cognitive Science, 33, 115-125.


Chu, M., & Kita, S. (2008). Spontaneous gestures during mental rotation tasks: Insights into the microdevelopment of the motor strategy. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 137(4), 706-723.

Imai, M., Kita, S., Nagumo, M., & Okada, H. (2008). Sound symbolism between a word and an action facilitates early verb learning. Cognition, 109(1), 54-65.

Seyfeddinipur, M., Kita, S., & Indefrey, P. (2008). How speakers interrupt themselves in managing problems in speaking: Evidence from self-repairs. Cognition, 108(3), 837-842.

Özyürek, A., Kita, S., Allen, S., Brown, A., Furman, R., & Ishizuka, T. (2008). Development of cross-linguistic variation in speech and gesture: Motion events in English and Turkish. Developmental Psychology, 44(4), 1040-1054.

Kita, S., & Lausberg, H. (2008). Speech-gesture discoordination in split brain patients' left-hand gestures: Evidence for right-hemispheric generation of co-speech gestures. Cortex, 44(2), 131-139.


Kita, S., Özyürek, A., Allen, S., Brown, A., Furman, R., & Ishizuka, T. (2007). Relations between syntactic encoding and co-speech gestures: Implications for a model of speech and gesture production. Language and Cognitive Processes, 22(8), 1212-1236.

Enfield, N. J., Kita, S., & de Ruiter, J. P. (2007). Primary and secondary pragmatic functions of pointing gestures. Journal of Pragmatics 39(10), 1722-1741.

Kita, S., & Ide, S. (2007). Nodding, aizuchi, and final particles in Japanese conversation: How conversation reflects the ideology of communication and social relationships. Journal of Pragmatics, 39(7), 1242-1254.

Bohnemeyer, J., Enfield, N., Essegbey, J., Ibarretxe-Antuñano, I. Kita, S., Lüpke, F., & Ameka, F. K. (2007). Principles of event segmentation in language: The case of motion events. Language, 83, 495-532.

Kita, S., de Condappa, O., & Mohr, C. (2007). Metaphor explanation attenuates the right-hand preference for depictive co-speech gestures that imitate actions. Brain and Language, 101, 185-197.

Özyürek, A., Willems, R. M., Kita, S., & Hagoort, P. (2007). On-line integration of semantic information from speech and gesture: Insights from even-related brain potentials. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 19, 605-616.

Melinger, A., & Kita, S. (2007). Conceptualization load triggers gesture production. Language and Cognitive Processes, 22(4), 473-500.

Hostetter, A. B., Alibali, W. M., & Kita, S. (2007). I see it in my hand's eye: Representational gestures are sensitive to conceptual demands. Language and Cognitive Processes, 22(3), 313-336.

Allen, S., Özyürek, A., Kita, S., Brown, A., Furman, R., Ishizuka, T., & Fujii M. (2007). How language specific is early syntactic packaging of Manner and Path? A comparison of English, Turkish, and Japanese. Cognition, 102, 16-48.


Vigliocco, G. & Kita, S (2006). Language-specific properties of the lexicon: Implications for learning and processing. Language and Cognitive Processes, 21(7-8), 790-816.


Senghas, A., Özyürek, A., & Kita, S. (2005). Language emergence in vitro or in vivo? A reply to Russo and Volterra’s technical comment on children creating core properties of language. Science, 309 (5731), 56c.

Özyürek, A., Kita, S., Allen, S., Furman, R., & Brown, A. (2005). How does linguistic framing of events influence co-speech gestures? Insights from crosslinguistic variations and similarities. Gesture, 5(1), 215-237.


Senghas, A., Kita, S., & Özyürek, A. (2004). Children creating core properties of language: Evidence from an emerging sign language in Nicaragua. Science, 305(5697), 1779-1782. Open Access Pre-Print:

Majid, A., Bowerman, M., Kita, S., Haun, D. B. M., & Levinson, S. C. L. (2004). Can language restructure cognition? The case of space. TRENDS in Cognitive Sciences, 8, 108-114.


Kita, S., & Özyürek, A. (2003). What does cross-linguistic variation in semantic coordination of speech and gesture reveal?: Evidence for an interface representation of spatial thinking and speaking. Journal of Memory and Language, 48, 16-32. Open Access accepted version:

Lausberg, H., & Kita, S. (2003). The content of the message influences the hand preference in co-speech gestures and in gesturing without speaking. Brain and Language, 86, 57-69.

Lausberg, H., Kita, S., Zaidel, E., & Ptito, A. (2003). Split-brain patients neglect left personal space during right-handed gestures. Neuropsychologia, 41, 1317-1329.

Lausberg, H., Cruz, R. F., Kita, S., Zaidel, E., & Ptito, A. (2003). Pantomime to visual presentation of objects: left hand dyspraxia in patients with complete callosotomy. Brain, 126, 343-360.


Lausberg, H., & Kita, S. (2002). Dissociation of right and left hand gesture spaces in split-brain patients. Cortex, 38, 883-886.

Levinson, S.C., Kita, S., Haun, D. B. M., & Rasch, B. H. (2002). Re-turning the tables: Language affects spatial reasoning. Cognition, 84, 158-188.


Kita, S. (2001). Semantic schism and interpretive integration in Japanese sentences with a mimetic: A reply to Tsujimura. Linguistics, 39, 419-436.

Kita, S., & Essegbey, J. (2001). Pointing left in Ghana: How a taboo on the use of the left hand influences gestural practice. Gesture, 1, 73-94.


Kita, S. (2000). Hito wa naze jesuchaa o suru noka [why do people gesture?]. Ninchikagaku [Cognitive Studies], 7(1), 9-21.

Alibali, M. W., Kita, S., & Young, A. J. (2000). Gesture and the process of speech production: we think, therefore we gesture. Language and Cognitive Processes, 15, 593-613.

1999 or earlier

Kita, S. (1999). Japanese Enter/Exit verbs without motion semantics. Studies in Language, 23(2), 307-330. http://dx.doi/org/10.1075/sl.23.2.04kit

Pederson, E., Danziger, E., Wilkins, D., Levinson, S. C., Kita, S., & Senft, G. (1998). Semantic typology and spatial conceptualization. Language, 74, 557-589.

Kita, S. (1997). Two-dimensional semantic analysis of Japanese mimetics. Linguistics, 35(2), 379-415.

Brugman, H., & Kita, S. (1995). Impact of digital video technology on transcription: a case of spontaneous gesture transcription. KODIKAS/CODE: Ars Semiotica, An international journal of semiotics, 18, 95-112.

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Book Chapters with Open Access accepted versions

Kita, S. (2014). Production of speech-accompanying gesture. In V. Ferreira, M. Goldrick & M. Miozzo (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Language Production (pp. 451-459). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Open Access accepted version:

Alibali, M. W., Church, R. B., Kita, S., & Hostetter, A. B. (2014). Embodied knowledge in the development of conservation of quantity: Evidence from gesture. In L. Edwards, F. Ferrara & D. Moore-Russo (Eds.), Emerging perspectives on gesture and embodiment in mathematics (pp. 27-49). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Press. Open Access accepted version:

Kita, S. (2000). How representational gestures help speaking. In D. McNeill (Ed.), Language and gesture (pp. 162-185). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Open Access accepted version:

Kita, S., van Gijn, I., & van der Hulst, H. (1998). Movement Phases in signs and co-speech gestures, and their transcription by human coders. In I. Wachsmuth & M. Fröhlich (Eds.), Gesture and sign language in human-computer interaction, International Gesture Workshop Bielefeld, Germany, September 17-19, 1997, Proceedings. Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence (Vol. 1317, pp. 23-35). Berlin: Springer-Verlag. Open Access accepted version:


Selected Research Grants

-Phonological properties of hand shapes in home signs used by deaf children in hearing family (ESRC, 2012-2013)

-Infant word learning investigated through the habituation technique (BBSRC Research Development Fellowship, 2009-2012)

-Impact of mimicry of communicative gestures on pro-social behaviours (British Academy, 2009-2010)

-Individual differences in the production of speech-accompanying gestures (ESRC, 2009-2011)

-Hand preference for spontaneous representational gestures during metaphoric speech (British Academy, 2006)

-Verb learning and the use of syntactic cues: evidence from an argument drop (ESRC, 2005-2009)

-Integration of speech and gesture: Neurophysiological investigation (BBSRC, 2003-2008)

-A cross-linguistic developmental study of spatial thinking and speaking: What do spontaneous gesture reveal? (NSF, 2000-2003)

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My research interests are psycholinguistics and psychology of communication. The main focus is on gestures that are spontaneously produced during speaking and thinking. The second focus is development of communicative abilities in children. I am also interested in issues concerning speech production (e.g., self-monitoring), semantics and pragmatics of spatial expressions (e.g., motion events), the relationship between language and thought, and sign language, cross-cultural variation of conversational style.


My research on gesture spans both production and comprehension. It also includes investigation of patients and neurophysiological methods.

Some of the key questions include:

- How are gesture and speech production processes inter-related?

- Do gestures have self-oriented (as opposed communicative) functions? If so, what is the nature of such functions?

- How do we integrate information from speech and gesture in comprehension?

- How does the brain produce and comprehend gestures in relation to speech?

- What is the relationship between gesture development and speech development in children?

Development of Language and Gesture

I have studied mechanisms of word learning and the development of gestural communication.

- Does sound symbolism (an inherent link between form and meaning of a word) facilitate word learning in children?

- Does accompanying gestures facilitate word learning in children?

- What is the relationship between language and gesture development?

- How does the ability to integrate speech and gesture (in production and comprehension) develop in children?

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Joining the lab

I am always looking for people who are keen to pursue research in my lab as:

Undergraduate research volunteers Undergraduate research placement student (for those who are in a degree programme with a placement year)Undergraduate summer research bursary holders (I can guide you in funding application)Ph.D. or Master's students (The University has PhD funding for both UK/EU students and non-EU students. Please get in touch by December/January to discuss PhD funding for the following academic year).Postdocs (I am happy to discuss fellowship applications, e.g., from the Marie Curie scheme, Royal Society's Newton fellowship, etc.)

Please drop me an email if you would like to discuss this further.


PhD supervisees

- Mandana Seyedennipur (University of London, SOAS)

- Mingyuan Chu (University of Aberdeen)

- Katerina Kantartzis (Birmingham City University)

- Sophie Milward (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology)

- Katherine H. Mumford (First Words)

- Paraskevi Argyriou (University of Manchester)

- Mai Al-Subhi (current)

- Isabella Fritz (current)


After studying engineering in Japan (B.A., Mathematical engineering, University of Tokyo,1986; M.A. Information engineering, University of Tokyo, 1988), I moved to Chicago (USA). I received a Ph.D. in psychology and linguistics from the University of Chicago (1993) under the supervision of Professor David McNeill. In 1993, I joined Cognitive Anthropology Research Group (lead by Stephen Levinson) at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Netherlands as a postdoc.

I worked at the Max Planck Institute as a postdoc (1993-1994) and then a Senior Researcher in Levinson's group (1994-2003). Throughout my stay at the Institute, I was the leader of the Gesture Project, one of the research foci of the Institute. I was a Senior Lecturer at the Dept. of Experimental Psychology in the University of Bristol (2003-2006), and a Reader at the School of Psychology in the University of Birmingham (2006-2013). I have been in the current position (Professor of Psychology of Language) since 2013.

Other activities

NSF funded Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center (Member of their Spatial Network)I lead the Gesture Project at Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics between 1993-2003. (See The Nijmegen Gesture Centre)President for the International Society for Gesture Studies (2012-2014)Coordinator for the society for Japanese academic and research staff, visitors and postgraduate students at the University

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