Cognitive change in learning from text: Gesturing enhances the construction of the text mental model

  • Cutica I
  • Bucciarelli M
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The literature on co-speech gestures has revealed a facilitating effect of gestures on both the listener's discourse comprehension and memory, and the speaker's discourse production. Bucciarelli (2007) and Cutica and Bucciarelli (2008) advanced a mental model account for the cognitive change produced by gestures: Gestures, whether observed or produced, favour the construction of a mental model of the discourse they accompany. In this paper, we focus on gesturing while studying, assuming that gesturing while reading a text also favours the construction of a mental model of the text. In two experiments we invited adult participants to study two scientific texts and confirmed the predictions deriving from the assumption that gestures favour the construction of a mental model of the text: Gesturing while studying resulted in more correct recollections and text-based inferences (Experiment 1) and loss of verbatim recall (Experiment 2).

Author-supplied keywords

  • Gestures
  • Learning
  • Mental models
  • Text comprehension

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  • Ilaria Cutica

  • Monica Bucciarelli

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