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Professor David McNeill (born 1933 in California, USA)[1] is an American psychologist and writer specializing in scientific research into psycholinguistics and especially the relationship of language to thought, and the gestures that accompany discourse.[2]

Life and career[edit | edit source]

David McNeill is an American professor of psychology and linguistics. He is Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago in Illinois, USA, and a writer.[2][3][4]

Education[edit | edit source]

McNeill studied for and was awarded a Bachelor of Arts in 1953 and a Doctor of Philosophy in 1962, both in psychology, at the University of California, Berkeley, California, USA. He went on to study at the Center for Cognitive Studies, Harvard University in 1963.[2]

Academic positions held[2][edit | edit source]

  • Harvard University, Research Fellow, Center for Cognitive Studies (1963–1965)
  • University of Michigan, Assistant to Associate Professor of Psychology (1965–1969)
  • Harvard University, Visiting Associate Professor of Psychology (1967–1969)
  • University of Chicago, Professor of Psychology and Linguistics (1969–2001)
  • Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, Member (1973-1975)
  • University of Chicago, Professor of Psychology and Linguistics Emeritus (2001–)
  • Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, Wassenaar, Fellow (1983-1984)
  • Duke University, Department of Anthropology, Visiting Professor (1984)
  • University of Chicago, Chair, Department of Psychology (1991–1997)
  • Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, Visitor (1998–1999)

Honours and awards[edit | edit source]

As well as being a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi and holding several academic fellowships including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1973-1974, McNeill was Gustaf Stern Lecturer at the University of Göteborg, Sweden in 1999; and Vice President of the International Society for Gesture Studies from 2002–2005.[2]

In 1995, McNeill won the Award for Outstanding Faculty Achievement, University of Chicago; and in 1995 he was awarded the Gordon J. Laing Award from the University of Chicago Press for the book Hand and Mind.[2][5]

In 2003, the National-Louis University (a multi-campus institution in Chicago) Office of Institutional Management Grants Center received an American Psychological Association Grant for Gale Stam Psychology College of Arts and Sciences to provide "a Festschrift conference honoring Professor David McNeill of the University of Chicago."[6]

Research[edit | edit source]

McNeill specializes in psycholinguistics, and in particular scientific research into the relationship of language to thought, and the gestures that accompany discourse.[2]

In his research, McNeill has studied videoed discourses of the same stimulus stories being retold "together with their co-occurring spontaneous gestures" by "speakers of different languages, [...] by non-native speakers at different stages of learning English, by children at various ages, by adolescent deaf children not exposed to language models, and by speakers with neurological impairments (aphasic, right hemisphere damaged, and split-brain patients)."[2]

This and other research has formed the subject matter of a number of books which McNeill has written through his career.

Reception[edit | edit source]

Professor McNeill's books have received coverage in a number of academic journals and in the general press.

A 1991 article in the Chicago Reader;[7] a 2006 article in the Scientific American, Mind magazine;[8] and a 2008 article in Boston Globe[9] describe McNeill's work on the language of gesture in detail.

The Acquisition of Language was reviewed in the International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders in 1971.[10]

The Conceptual Basis of Language was reviewed in The Conceptual Basis of Language in 1980.[11]

Hand and Mind was reviewed in Language and Speech;[12] the American Journal of Psychology;[13] and Language[14] in 1994.

Gesture and Thought was reviewed in Language in Society[15] and Metaphor and Symbol[16] in 2007.

Selected publications[edit | edit source]

Books written[edit | edit source]

  • McNeill, David (1970). The Acquisition of Language: The Study of Developmental Psycholinguistics, New York, USA: Harper & Row. (Paperback)
  • McNeill, David (October 1979). The Conceptual Basis of Language, New Jersey, USA: Erlbaum / John Wiley & Sons Inc.. (Hardcover)
  • McNeill, David (February 1987). Psycholinguistics: A New Approach, New York, USA; United Kingdom: Harper & Row / HarperCollins College Div.. (Paperback).
  • McNeill, David (15 January 1996). Hand and Mind: What Gestures Reveal about Thought, Chicago, Illinois, USA: University Of Chicago Press. (Paperback)
  • McNeill, David (8 November 2005). Gesture and Thought, Chicago, Illinois, USA: University Of Chicago Press. (Hardcover)

Books edited[edit | edit source]

  • McNeill, David (ed.) (August 2000). Language and Gesture (Language Culture and Cognition), Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. (Hardcover, paperback ISBN 0521777615)

Reviews of McNeill's work[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Staff D. McNeill (nias). Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NIAS). URL accessed on 2010-02-07.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Staff McNeill Lab Friends: Members Home: Professor David McNeill. University of Chicago, Department of Psychology. URL accessed on 2010-02-07.
  3. McNeill, David David McNeill - LinkedIn. LinkedIn. URL accessed on 2010-02-07.
  4. Staff Who's Who in Social Sciences: David McNeill. URL accessed on 2010-02-07.
  5. Harms, William McNeill wins Laing Award. University of Chicago Chronicle. URL accessed on 2010-02-05. Vol. 14, No. 16.
  6. Staff Grants Center - National-Louis University. National-Louis University. URL accessed on 2010-02-07.
  7. Henderson, Harold More Than Words Can Say: The Language of Gestures, as Translated by U. of C. Psycholinguist David McNeill. Chicago Reader. URL accessed on 2010-02-07.
  8. Wachsmuth, Ipke Gestures Offer Insight. Scientific American, Scientific American Mind. URL accessed on 2010-02-07.
  9. Bennett, Drake Hand power. Boston Globe]]. URL accessed on 2010-02-07.
  10. Unknown (October 1971). Book Reviews: The Acquisition of Language: The Study of Developmental Psycholinguistics. David McNeill. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders 6 (2): 177–183.
  11. Unknown (September 1980). Book Reviews: The Conceptual Basis of Language By David McNeill (1979). International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders 15 (2): 143–153.
  12. Studdert-Kennedy, Michael (1994). Hand and Mind: What Gestures Reveal About Thought. Language and Speech 37 (2): 203–209.
  13. Feyereisen, Pierre (Spring 1994). Book Reviews: Hand and Mind: What Gestures Reveal about Thought by David McNeill. 'The American Journal of Psychology' 107 (1): 149–155.
  14. Fischer, Susan D. (June 1994). Reviews: Hand and Mind: What Gestures Reveal about Thought by David McNeill. Language 70 (2): 345–350.
  15. Monaghan, Leila (2007). Book Reviews: Dave McNeill, Gesture and Thought. Language in Society 36 (5): 764–768.
  16. Mittelberg, Irene (June 2007). Gesture & Thought. David McNeill, Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2005. Metaphor and Symbol 22 (3): 281–290.

External links[edit | edit source]

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