Gestures for Thinking

Abstract : Can our gestures help us think, and, if so, how? Previous work suggests that they can. Here, students, alone in a room, studied descriptions of environments for later tests of knowledge. The majority of participants spontaneously gestured while reading the descriptions, and most of those also gestured while answering true-false questions. They did not gesture proportionately more time for environments with many landmarks than for environments with few. Their gestures laid out the environments, primarily using points to places and lines for paths. Descriptions and questions accompanied by gestures were remembered more accurately. Participants rarely looked at their hands. Gestures seem to promote learning by establishing embodied representations of the environments.
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Azadeh Jamalian, Valeria Giardino, Barbara Tversky. Gestures for Thinking. Markus Knauff; Natalie Sebanz; Michael Pauen; Ipke Wachsmuth. Proceedings of the 35th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society - Berlin, Germany, July 31-August 3, 2013, Cognitive Science Society, pp.645 - 650, 2013, 978-0-9768318-9-1. ⟨hal-01871161⟩

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