Filling in the gaps: observing gestures conveying additional information can compensate for missing verbal content

Nicole Dargue*, Megan Phillips, Naomi Sweller

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    While observing gesture has been shown to benefit narrative recall and learning, research has yet to show whether gestures that provide information that is missing from speech benefit narrative recall. This study explored whether observing gestures that relay the same information as speech and gestures that provide information missing from speech differentially affect narrative recall in university students. Participants were presented with a videotaped narrative told in one of four conditions: with gestures and no missing verbal information, with gestures and missing verbal information, with no gestures and no missing verbal information, or with no gestures and missing verbal information. Results showed that observing gestures that provided additional information to speech (i.e., when the speech was missing vital information) enhanced narrative recall compared to observing no gestures, while observing gestures that did not provide additional information to speech were no more beneficial than observing no gestures at all. Findings from the current study provide valuable insight into the beneficial effect of iconic gesture on narrative recall, with important implications for education and learning.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)637-659
    Number of pages23
    JournalInstructional Science
    Volume49
    Issue number5
    Early online date25 Jun 2021
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

    Keywords

    • narrative recall
    • iconic gesture
    • additional gestures
    • overlapping gestures
    • learning

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