Volume 16, Issue 3
  • ISSN 1568-1475
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9773
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Hand gestures have been found to provide both semantic information and cognitive facilitative effects in language tasks. These benefits, however, have typically been linked to micro-levels of word and sentence production, and little attention has been paid to the macro-levels of narrative production and organization. In this study, we examined the length, content, syntactic complexity, and organization of narratives of ten typically developing adults under two conditions: (i) Free Gesture, in which participants were allowed to gesture freely while retelling a story, and (ii) Restricted Gesture, where the participants were prevented from moving their hands freely. Results indicated that although narrative length and content did not vary significantly between conditions, narratives produced in the Free Gesture condition were significantly more grammatically complex and better organized than those produced in the Restricted Gesture condition. The findings are discussed with respect to the potential facilitative cognitive effects of gesture for discourse planning.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): discourse; gesture; gesture restriction; narrative organization; syntactic complexity
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