Gerwing divides her time
between her home (in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada) and Oslo. In Victoria,
she collaborates with a research group (headed by Dr. Janet Bavelas), focusing
on basic processes of face-to-face dialogue as well as communication in both
psychotherapeutic and health care interactions. Her primary research method is
microanalysis of face-to-face and telephone dialogues, with a focus on how
people respond to each other and demonstrate mutual understanding. Her
experimental research work has focused on the use of gestures and facial
displays in conversation. Her PhD dissertation was an analysis of home videos
that investigated infant social responsiveness to parents; specifically, Gerwing
designed a method for revealing that an infant later diagnosed with autism was significantly
less socially responsive than his same age, typically-developing siblings.
Gerwing is particularly
interested in using microanalysis as a tool for revealing the details of
conversational interaction in order to bring a new awareness to everyday
practice interactions. Her current interests include how people overcome communication
challenges, such as language barriers, when they need to come to a common
understanding. Health care professionals and minority patients face these
challenges every day. At NAKMI, Gerwing is leading a project to address
communication challenges in emergency telephone calls between Norwegian
emergency medical line operators and callers who do not have Norwegian as their
Gerwing is also currently
focused on methods for bridging the gap between communication theory/ research
and communication practice in institutional settings. An essential component
for bridging this gap is to work closely with health care professionals to
observe the day-to-day realities of their particular health care setting, their
roles, and the details of their current communication practice. In addition, an
understanding of the migration process and the experiences of minority patients
contribute to a more comprehensive awareness of communication challenges. Within
the context of this information, knowledge from the multi-disciplinary field of
communication can be transformed into useful advice and concrete
recommendations to improve communication between health care professionals and
Bavelas, J.B., & Gerwing. (in press) The
listener as addressee in face-to-face dialogue. International Journal of
& Bavelas, J. B. (in press) The social interactive nature of gestures:
Theory, assumptions, methods, and findings. Handbook article for C. Müller, E. Fricke, A Cienki, & D.
McNeill (Eds.), Body- Language-
Communication. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
J., & Indseth, T. (2010). Communication with non-native callers in
medical emergency calls: Recommendations for AMK operators and leadership.
Report prepared for Oslo University Hospital, Norwegian Centre for Minority
B., Gerwing, J., Sutton, C., & Prevost, D.
(2008). Gesturing on the telephone:
Independent effects of dialogue and visibility. Journal of Memory and Language, 58, 495-520.
B., & Gerwing, J. (2007) Conversational hand gestures and facial displays
in face-to-face dialogue. In K. Fiedler (Ed.), Social communication (pages 283-308). New York: Psychology Press (Frontiers of
Social Psychology Series).
J., & Bavelas, J. B. (2004). Linguistic influences on gesture’s form. Gesture, 4, 157-195.