Yesterday, Jeroen Arendsen introduced me to the concept of fidgeting, the stuff that happens in between actions/gestures in a continuous flux of movement. I have been looking for a good word to describe this type of movement (which I have been calling “movement-noise”), and I am happy to finally have a better word for it. I made a small sketch showing how fidgeting fits into my movement-flux diagram to celebrate the new discovery:


Jeroen has conducted some experiments where he has asked people to press a button whenever they see a sign/gesture, and discusses how good people are at removing all the redundant movement information (i.e. fidgeting).

Obviously, for action/gesture recognition systems we are interested in filtering out such movements and be able to focus only on the main movements. This is not so bad when the person is at rest, but in my experience it gets really tricky when the person is moving as well as fidgeting (e.g. a dancer running across a stage).

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Alexander Refsum Jensenius is a music researcher and research musician living in Oslo, Norway.

4 thoughts on “Fidgeting”

  1. Glad you picked up this topic of filtering out unwanted movements such as fidgeting. Not sure about the way you included it in you movement flux diagram. Kendon notes that in-between gesture phrases there is a transition (in the sense of a recovery that turns into a preparation), but that is not what you mean to illustrate here, I presume?
    In you diagram, the ‘actions’ are all associated with peaks, whereas the fidgeting is not. Is that on purpose and if so, do you mean to imply that the movement pattern of fidgeting is in that way different from ‘actions’? Because I am not sure whether that is the case.

  2. Sorry about that. I spelt it correctly somewhere else, but then I guess I had a mental flip to the Norwegian “Andresen” here. I have corrected it now.

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