Publication details [#12054]

So, Wing Chee, Terence Han-Wei Ching, Phoebe Elizabeth Lim, Xiaoqin Cheng and Kit Yee Ip. 2014. Producing gestures facilitates route learning. PLOS ONE 9 (11) : 1–21. 21 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language


This paper explores whether producing gestures would facilitate route learning in a navigation task. Additionally, it investigates whether its facilitation effect is comparable to that of hand movements that leave physical visible traces. Two experiments explored gestures produced without accompanying speech, i.e., co-thought gestures (e.g., an index finger traces the spatial sequence of a route in the air). Adult participants were asked to study routes shown in four diagrams, one at a time. Participants reproduced the routes, firstly verbally in Experiment 1 and secondly, non-verbally in Experiment 2. They were asked to reproduce the routes without rehearsal or after rehearsal by mentally simulating the route, by drawing it, or by gesturing (either in the air or on paper). Participants who moved their hands (either in the form of gestures or drawing) recalled better than those who mentally simulated the routes and those who did not rehearse. These results suggest that hand movements produced during rehearsal facilitate route learning. Participants who gestured the routes in the air or on paper recalled better than those who drew them on paper in both experiments. This suggests that the facilitation effect of co-thought gesture holds for both verbal and nonverbal recall modalities. The reason of this could be that co-thought gesture consolidates spatial sequence better than drawing. Consequently, this exerts more powerful influence on spatial representation.