Jennifer Gerwing
Research Team - Jennifer Gerwing
My research uses microanalysis of face-to-face and telephone dialogues to understand how people respond to each other and show that they are accumulating mutual understanding. I am particularly interested in using basic research techniques to transform qualitative observations into systematic, quantitative, objective analysis methods.

Much of my basic research background involves the analysis of videotapes of participants having task-oriented dialogues in a controlled setting (i.e., the laboratory). I have often focused this research on participants’ gesture use. For example, for my MA thesis (University of Victoria, Department of Psychology), I examined how common ground between participants influenced aspects of their gesture use. For my PhD dissertation (also University of Victoria), I applied and adapted microanalysis to an investigation of infant social responsiveness to parents as shown in home videos; specifically, I designed a method for revealing that an infant later diagnosed with autism exhibited reduced social responsiveness compared to his same age siblings who were not diagnosed with autism.

Besides continuing research and professional training collaborations with Janet Bavelas, Sara Healing, and Christine Tomori, I currently work part time at UllevĂĄl University Hospital (Oslo, Norway) at the Norwegian Centre for Minority Health Research on a project to address and remediate communication difficulties in emergency telephone calls between Norwegian emergency medical line operators and foreign language callers. In addition, I am particularly interested in the application of microanalysis to the analysis of communication in health care settings and in translating fundamental, evidence-based knowledge about face-to-face dialogue into sensible, concrete communication training for health care professionals.