Gesture Results

I finally have my results. I’ve been rearranging some of the data to see if the data look any different when I tilt my head a certain way, but the truth is I’m not entirely sure what to make of the results. I wrote in a previous blog post about my concerns that co-regulation would not be present in the sakis’ gestures, and I am now even more certain that the sakis did not gesture in a coregulated manner in the time that I observed them, that being said, I still have some interesting (if head-scratching) results that I will be thinking over the next couple weeks as I write-up an article.

Most obvious to me is the large disparity in the gesture-rates between the two pairs. While Oberon and Isabella only gestured twenty-four times to one-another (a rate of roughly one gesture for every two hours of film), Jamie and Marnie gestured a relatively whopping ninty-one times to or with one another, a rate almost four times larger. I cannot be sure of why this occurred but I have two (non-mutually exclusive) hypothesis: first, Jamie and Marnie were in a much smaller exhibit meaning that they could encounter each-other more frequently leading to more spontaneous gesturing. Second, Oberon and Isabella had just been moved into their new exhibit meaning they:  one might have had trouble finding one another in the new large space, and two, the presence of unfamiliar exhibit companions may have inhibited gesturing. I think the relative size of the exhibit space may have had the most to do with the differences, but I cannot discount the impact the change in living arrangments may have had on Oberon and Isabella.

There is another possibility for the differences as well, one which I am all too afraid of: rater error. This is my first time watching significant hours of film and coding it, and on top of that I had to define and categorize the gestures as I saw them. From my data I found categorically different gestures between the pair, which makes the comparisons between the two all the more tricky. I did find that nearly all the gestures I observed related to grooming in some way, but I am also worried I may have missed gestures related to other things. I watched all fifty hours of film twice, but keep wondering if I missed something. In all honesty, I could probably watch the film twelve more time and still feel this way.

In addition to gesturing at different rates, and having gestures with different physical components, only Jamie and Marnie gestured in sequence with one another. Part of this may have to do with the fact that Oberon and Isabella simply did not gesture enough for sequences to develop, but Jamie and Marnie seemed to have one commonly occurring sequence of gestures that often repeated. Jamie (though occasionally Marnie would initiate) would reach for Marnie’s hand, or forearm, Marnie invariably would rebuff this attempt but then grab onto Jamie’s hair somewhere around the shoulder. The two would then sit together for a variable amount of time before engaging in facial-grooming and/or muzzle sniffing. Perhaps this combination is pair-specific and has developed over the time that Jamie and Marnie have spent together, since they very rarely deviated from this sequence of events.

I am looking forward to continuing to work with this data to write up my article.