Gestures provide a helping hand in problem solving

March, 2011

Another study confirms the value of gestures in helping you solve spatial problems, and suggests that gesturing can help you develop better mental visualization.

In the first of three experiments, 132 students were found to gesture more often when they had difficulties solving mental rotation problems. In the second experiment, 22 students were encouraged to gesture, while 22 were given no such encouragement, and a further 22 were told to sit on their hands to prevent gesturing. Those encouraged to gesture solved more mental rotation problems.

Interestingly, the amount of gesturing decreased with experience with these spatial problems, and when the gesture group were given new spatial visualization problems in which gesturing was prohibited, their performance was still better than that of the other participants. This suggests that the spatial computation supported by gestures becomes internalized. The third experiment increased the range of spatial visualization problems helped by gesture.

The researchers suggest that hand gestures may improve spatial visualization by helping a person keep track of an object in the mind as it is rotated to a new position, and by providing additional feedback and visual cues by simulating how an object would move if the hand were holding it.

Reference: 

[2140] Chu M, Kita S. The nature of gestures' beneficial role in spatial problem solving. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General [Internet]. 2011 ;140(1):102 - 116. Available from: http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/xge/140/1/102/

Full text of the article is available at http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/xge-140-1-102.pdf

Related News

Musicians and people who are bilingual have long been shown to have a better

A British study using data from 475,397 participants has shown that, on average, stronger people performed better across every test of brain functioning used.

A Spanish study investigating the effects of traffic-related air pollution on children walking to school has found higher levels of particulate matter and black carbon were associated with decreased growth in

When you're reading a picture book to a very young child, it's easy to think it's obvious what picture, or part of a picture, is being talked about. But you know what all the words mean.

A small study that fitted 29 young adults (18-31) and 31 older adults (55-82) with a device that recorded steps taken and the vigor and speed with which they were made, has found that those older adults with a higher step rate performed better on memory tasks than those who were more sedentary.

Brain imaging while 11 individuals with traumatic brain injury and 15 healthy controls performed a

I've written at length about implementation plans in my book “Planning to Remember: How to Remember What You're Doing and What You Plan to Do”.

This is just a preliminary study presented at a recent conference, so we can't give it too much weight, but the finding is consistent with what we know about

I've reported before on the idea that the drop in

The number of items a person can hold in short-term memory is strongly correlated with their IQ. But short-term memory has been recently found to vary along another dimension as well: some people remember (‘see’) the items in short-term memory more clearly and precisely than other people.

Pages

Subscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest health newsSubscribe to Latest news