Co-speech gestures have been shown to interact with working memory (WM). However, no study has investigated whether there are individual differences in the effect of gestures on WM. Combining a novel gesture/no-gesture task and an operation span task, we examined the differences in WM accuracy between individuals who gestured and individuals who did not gesture in relation to their WM capacity. Our results showed individual differences in the gesture effect on WM. Specifically, only individuals with low WM capacity showed a reduced WM accuracy when they did not gesture. Individuals with low WM capacity who did gesture, as well as high-capacity individuals (irrespective of whether they gestured or not), did not show the effect. Our findings show that the interaction between co-speech gestures and WM is affected by an individual's WM load.
- Individual differences in memory capacity
- Working memory