Stories and gesture: Redundant and non-redundant gesture use in narrative comprehension
thesisposted on 28.03.2022, 01:19 authored by Emma Louise Zicat
Teachers naturally produce hand gestures when they teach. While there is evidence for gesture effectiveness when teaching mathematics and conservation, there has been limited research investigating the role of co-speech gestures on narrative comprehension. Specifically, the redundancy of the gesture with the associated speech content has been underexplored in this area. This study investigated the role that iconic and deictic, redundant and non-redundant hand gestures had on children's comprehension. The 129 3 to 5-year-old children who participated in the study watched a video of a narrated story. The narration was accompanied by either iconic, deictic or no gestures which were redundant or non-redundant to the story content. Participants were asked both a free recall and cued recall questions relevant to the narrative. Observing gesture facilitated comprehension as measured by free recall but not cued recall. However, the interaction between gesture type and gesture redundancy was not significant. Although children's individual language levels were positively associated with recall, there was also no observed interaction between gesture type, gesture redundancy and language ability. Results were unable to conclusively support one mechanism for the facilitative effect of gesture, findings tentatively supported the dual coding theory, the interactive contribution hypothesis and the attentional hypothesis.