Boy, I have been looking for this cartoon for two and a half years (off and on, that is, see here). So, a big thanks to diamond-blade for pointing out the link.
It was the Garfield daily comic from February 27, 2005 (source)
The reason why I like this comic so much (besides my general fascination for the gestures in Garfield, see these posts) is that it is a wonderful illustration of an idea that I would love to test experimentally. The idea is that certain movements (i.e. having certain kinematic characteristics) might automatically trigger the perception of a gesture (in the sense of a movement that is intended to communicate). This idea is not new and was, for example, described by Adam Kendon in his 2004 book ‘Gesture. Visible action as utterance’. But this idea is also present, to some extent, in the work of Gunnar Johansson (1973) and Albert Michotte.
Prelimary ideas about experiments:
- Generate a randomized display of motion (within some likely parameter space) and let people all watch that same fragment, then check if they see a gesture at the same time.
- Condition: Manipulate it in such a way that it is easier or harder to imagine seeing a hand.
- Condition: Create conditions where subjects feel it is likely or unlikely they will be insulted (perception of intention to communicate appears linked to sensitivity to insults, see my thesis or Bucci et al. 2008).