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All kind of gestures support comprehension for all of us

Producing gestures creates better effects than just observing them




There are not first, second or third category gestures: all of them – regardless whether they emphasize, complement or help to structure your soundtrack – support comprehension of speech. And this without any exception and with all age groups. Previously noted differences between children and adults when it comes to the reception of gestures in general have now proven to be irrelevant. These are the most important results of a recently published meta-analysis from Sydney/Australia where 83 studies covering the impact of gestures between 1970 anmd 2018 have been examined.

There was only one significant deviance: if you yourself are producing gestures in order to describe a specific topic more easily, you learn and your comprehend even better what you are talking about than if you are just watching someone else´s gestures to the very same topic.

When our hands help us understand: A meta-analysis into the effects of gesture on comprehension. Dargue/Sweller/Jones. In: Psychological Bulletin. Aug. 2019 145 (8), 765-784.


From the practice:

Nothing new to me: gestures do always have a positive effect and those who keep saying too many gestures are confusing and should be avoided, are wrong. Gestures support not only the comprehension of statements, they do contribute also to the liveliness of any communication between people.

Gestures can promote authenticity, too. Extravert persons make bigger movements and more, introvert smaller and less, but trust your body: it will find its natural amount by itself. Conversely, you can appear totally artificial and annatural by making gestures which are apparently rehearsed, as well.

This is why I am extremely reluctant with concrete recommendations where and which specific gestures to make – apart from three exceptions: how you hold you hands while standing (always above the belt line), while sitting (put your hands always casually onto the table) or when 3-dimensional objects are to be shown by hands.



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