Effects of Gestures while Studying Language Animations


Two experiments will be presented. Experiment 1 examined whether simultaneously observing and making gestures while studying animations would lighten cognitive load and facilitate the acquisition of grammatical rules, as would be predicted by theories of embodied cognition and cognitive load. However, results showed that children in the gesturing condition performed worse on a subsequent test than children in the control condition. This was particularly true for children with low levels of general language skills, whereas children with high language skills experienced no detrimental effects of gesturing. Because simultaneously observing and making gestures hampered learning, the question is whether only observing gestures would be effective. Moreover, because it is still unclear whether seeing animated sentence transformations has a positive effect on learning, Experiment 2 compares the effects of three instructional conditions for both low and high-ability learners: static pictures, animation without observing gestures, and animation with observing gestures.

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