This paper seeks to integrate research from both cognitive science as well as phenomenology to explore the ways in which gesture and language interact in intentional action. My aim in this research is directed towards actor training and the use of gesture in naturalism. By sharing research from developmental psycholinguists the role of gestures in the training of actors can be examined more closely and it may be possible to elucidate modes within actor-training that enhance subtle and in-depth performed communication.


In Lie To Me (2009), the American television series, Dr Cal Lightman played by Tim Roth reads the micro expressions of those under investigation by his clients in order to ascertain innocence or guilt. Through reading body language and facial expressions Dr Lightman and his team of ‘deception experts’ have managed to provide the Fox network with a highly popular production. Since 2009 Lie To Me has aired here in Australia extending to three series. Lightman’s remarkable perceptions have pushed the theories of body language and Facial Action Coding into the public arena. Dr Cal Lightman’s character and work is loosely based on Dr Paul Ekman’s research (1973; 1985; 2003; 2008). Ekman retired as Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in 2004 after working there for 32 years. He has publishing extensive research on the biological origins of facial expressions associated with a set of emotions, which he codified into his now famous Facial Action Coding System. For those interested in television trivia both Ekman, [/one-half-first][one-half]in his book Telling Lies (1985), and Lightman, in the television series, attribute their initial concern with facial expressions and veracity to the guilt they experienced after their mother’s suicide, when she convinced orderlies at her psychiatric institution that she was stable enough to be allowed on a weekend pass.