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The effect of typical and atypical gestures on adult narrative comprehension
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 21:47 authored by Nicole Dargue
The gestures that learners both observe and produce can aid learning. Little is known, however, about whether observing and spontaneously producting gestures assists adults in understanding narratives. Furthermore, there is a lack of research into the differential impacts of different types of gestures and narrative comprehension. This study therefore explores the role that observing and producing different types of gestures has in assisting adult narrative comprehension. Participants viewed a videotaped narrative in one of three between-subjects conditions: with accompanying typical gestures (commonly used gestures), atypical gestures (non-typical gestures), or with no gestures. Half of the gesture and non-gesture points in the narrative were accompanied by complext words while the other half were accompanied by simple words, to determine whether observing gesture has a greater effect when a narrative is complex. Participants then answered free recall and follow-up questions about the narrative. Verbal and gestural recall of the narrative, and gestures spontaneously produced at recall were compared between conditions for simple and complex words. Further, the relationship between the production of gesture and verbal recall was examined. Results suggested that while typical gestures benefitted narrative comprehension to a greater extent than no gestures, atypical gestures were not beneficial for recall. There was no interaction between complexity and gesture condition. The number of typical gestures, but not the number of atypical or other gestures produced at recall, significantly predicted narrative comprehension. Findings from the current study suggest that not all gestures are equal: both viewing and producing typical gestures can benefit narrative comprehension, while atypical gestures may be of little benefit.