Gestures help us think and remember

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Robert Maurer

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The gestures we make while we speak, the language of signs, serve to reinforce the message we want to convey. Basically, they are a reflection of what we feel and think. However, until now we had never thought that the way we gesticulate can influence our thinking. How? University of Chicago researchers devised a very interesting experiment that allowed them to observe how gestures influence thinking. First, they asked the participants to solve the Tower of Hanoi problem (a math game in which eight increasing discs and three poles are used, the goal is to transfer
rings from pole to pole and form a perfect tower) Once finished, people had to explain how they had solved the problem. The interesting thing is that this is practically impossible to explain without using your hands since only with them is it possible to indicate how the rings have moved. These are gestures that are done naturally. Well, the researchers looked at how these people gesticulated, and then people were asked to solve the problem again, but this time with an additional degree of complexity. So they realized that people who gesticulated more and used both hands came to the solution faster.It is worth remembering that this is not the only study that emphasizes the importance of gestures for cognitive function. In the past, researchers at the University of New South Wales found that when children were prevented from gesturing, they had difficulty remembering the information they shared a short time ago. Instead, gesturing allowed them to consolidate information in memory.

Why do gestures help us remember and think better?

Researchers believe that when we gesticulate, we are straining our brains a lot more than when we just tell a situation without gestures. Obviously, involving different brain areas during learning, especially those that are related to motor movements, increases the chances of remembering information or thinking more clearly.When we gesticulate we are representing information in a different perspective and this is very positive for the quality of learning. In fact, we can consider gestures as a peculiar form of action, and we know what they say about it, and that is that: we remember 30% of what we see, 70% of what we say and 90% of what we what are we doing. So next time you're gesticulating don't stop, feel free, maybe your brain needs it.

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