What is the functional approach to studying gestures?
The functional approach analyzes the meaning and usage of nonverbal behaviors in nonverbal communication. As an example, consider Ekman and Friesen's typology of functions for nonverbal behaviors. This example will help to understand points about artificial signal systems. Ekman and Friesen distinguish five classes of nonverbal behaviors: emblems, adaptors, illustrators, regulators, and affect displays.
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