Gestures during a conversation can change our thoughts


11/01/2011

Sometimes it is almost impossible to talk or talk about something without using body language that reflects the image of our thoughts. Gestures are a visual cue to our thoughts, and the new theory is that we are even able to change your thoughts with gestures.

Scientists from the University of Chicago psychologists Sian Beilock (Sian Beilock) and Susan Goldin-Meadow (Susan Goldin-Meadow) brought together two lines of research: Beilock figured out how the action affects the thinking, and Goldin-Meadow, studied the impact of gestures. Together, they explored how body language affects thinking.

As an experiment, published in the Journal of Association for Psychological Science, Beilock and Goldin-Meadow, offered to volunteers under the famous puzzle game called Tower of Hanoi. This is a game where you have to move disks from one bar to another. After the participants completed the move disks, they were invited to another room and asked to explain or describe how they did it. (In fact, it is impossible to explain without using gestures.)

"Gesture is a special case of action. You may think that it does not really matter, because it has no direct impact on the world" - said Goldin-Meadow. But she and Beilock believe that gestures can really make a lasting impact on the thinking, "as gestures during the story of the action requires you to a mental representation of the action."

In an article published in the journal Perspectives in Psychological Science, the two authors have summed up the research on the interaction of gestures, actions and thoughts. Gestures concretize ideas, connecting traffic to the activity that goes on in your mind.

The researchers believe that this could be useful information for educators, Beilock and Goldin-Meadow, used a similar technique of gestures in order to help children better understand abstract concepts in subjects such as mathematics, physics and chemistry. "When you talk about the angular driving power and torque, you’re talking about the concepts, the explanation of which must be followed by action" - Beilock said. "I’m really interested to find out whether the use of actions or gestures kids change the brain processes that occur at them when they are trying to master these concepts." But even in mathematics, where the concepts have little to do with action, gesturing helps children learn and understand new material, because they themselves are hidden gestures in action.

Original: Sciencedaily Translation: M. Potter


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