Gestures help kids learn
Studies suggest hand gestures have powerful implications for children's cognitive capabilities. When children watch their elders pointing or making hand gestures, they will often respond by gesticulating as well. This establishes a neural connection which increases their capacity for learning.
One study required children to solve a math problem by describing aloud each step, performing specific gestures with each step, or doing both speaking and gesturing simultaneously to solve the problem. The children who were most likely to remember how to solve the problem a few weeks later were the children who articulated the solution by speaking and gesturing. The children who simply gestured were the next most likely to retain information for the three-week period.
Research conducted by University psychologists Assoc. Prof. Vikram Jaswal and Arts & Sciences Graduate student Carolyn Palmquist suggests children more easily believe adults when they point, rather than communicating with another gesture. Jaswal and Palmquist's study suggests children are conditioned to recognize authority in a pointing gesture.
-compiled by Shatila Zaman