ERIC Number: EJ1049967
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Aug
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 36
A Show of Hands: Relations between Young Children's Gesturing and Executive Function
O'Neill, Gina; Miller, Patricia H.
Developmental Psychology, v49 n8 p1517-1528 Aug 2013
This study brought together 2 literatures--gesturing and executive function--in order to examine the possible role of gesture in children's executive function. Children (N = 41) aged 2½-6 years performed a sorting-shift executive function task (Dimensional Change Card Sort). Responses of interest included correct sorting, response latency, spontaneous gestures, and verbal and gestural explanations for sorts. An examination of performance over trials permitted a fine-grained depiction of patterns of younger and older high gesturing versus low gesturing children. Relevant gesturing was positively associated with correct sorting, even more strongly than was age, and had its greatest impact right after the shift to a new relevant dimension. Generally high gesturers outperformed low gesturers even on trials in which the former did not gesture. Results were discussed in terms of theories of gesturing and of possible processes (e.g., scaffolding, adding a second representation) by which gestures might facilitate executive function, and vice versa. Possible preexisting differences between high and low gesturers also were considered. The findings open up a new avenue of research and theorizing about the possible role of gesturing in emerging executive function.
Descriptors: Nonverbal Communication, Young Children, Correlation, Executive Function, Age Differences, Prompting, Communication Skills, Verbal Communication, Video Technology, Coding, Regression (Statistics)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A