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ERIC Number: EJ1069932
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Aug
Pages: 10
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Effects of Learning with Gesture on Children's Understanding of a New Language Concept
Wakefield, Elizabeth M.; James, Karin H.
Developmental Psychology, v51 n8 p1105-1114 Aug 2015
Asking children to gesture while being taught a concept facilitates their learning. Here, we investigated whether children benefitted equally from producing gestures that reflected speech (speech-gesture matches) versus gestures that complemented speech (speech-gesture mismatches), when learning the concept of palindromes. As in previous studies, we compared the utility of each gesture strategy to a speech alone strategy. Because our task was heavily based on language ability, we also considered children's phonological competency as a predictor of success at posttest. Across conditions, children who had low phonological competence were equally likely to perform well at posttest. However, gesture use was predictive of learning for children with high phonological competence: Those who produced either gesture strategy during training were more likely to learn than children who used a speech alone strategy. These results suggest that educators should be encouraged to use either speech-gesture match or mismatch strategies to aid learners, but that gesture may be especially beneficial to children who possess basic skills related to the new concept, in this case, phonological competency. Results also suggest that there are differences between the cognitive effects of naturally produced speech-gesture matches and mismatches, and those that are scripted and taught to children.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) (NIH)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Indiana
Grant or Contract Numbers: HD057077; HD07475-15