Asymmetric coupling between gestures and speech during reasoning

de Jonge-Hoekstra, L., 30-Aug-2017.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractAcademic

When children learn, insights displayed in gestures typically precede insights displayed in speech. In this study, we investigated how this leading role of gestures in cognitive development is evident in (and emerges from)
the dynamic coupling between gestures and speech during one task. We investigated 12 children (Mage = 5.4 years) from Kindergarten and first grade who performed an air pressure task. Children’s gestures and speech were coded from video recordings, and levels of reasoning, based on Skill Theory, were assigned. To analyze the dynamic coupling between gestures and speech, Cross Recurrence Quantification Analysis was performed on the two coupled time series.
We found gestures to be ahead of speech for children in Kindergarten, but speech and gestures were more temporally aligned for first graders. Furthermore, we found speech to affect gestures more than vice versa for all children, but the degree of this asymmetry of bidirectional regulation differed. In Kindergarten, a higher score on language tests was related to more asymmetry between gestures and speech, while for first graders this relation was present for higher, within-task, levels of understanding. A more balanced, i.e. less asymmetric, coupling between gestures and speech was found to be related to a higher score on math and past tasks, though. Our findings suggest that the relation between gestures, speech and cognitive development is more
subtle than previously thought. Specifically, the nature of the coupling between gestures and speech not only expresses but might also predict learning differences between children, both within and across learning domains. We hope our study will foster future research on learning as a dynamic, embodied and embedded process.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 30-Aug-2017
Event18th European Conference on Developmental Psychology - Dom church and Dom square, Utrecht, Netherlands
Duration: 29-Aug-20171-Sep-2017


Conference18th European Conference on Developmental Psychology
Abbreviated titleECDP
Internet address


18th European Conference on Developmental Psychology


Utrecht, Netherlands

Event: Conference

ID: 53405565