Francesco Ianì, Monica Bucciarelli

When gestures accompany words: A false memories' report based on mental models

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Gestures; False Memories; Mental Models; DRM Paradigm.

The literature on enactment reveals that memory for words and sentences is favored when they are accompanied by gestures at encoding. The literature on gestures accompanying semantically related sentences, i.e., discourse, reveals instead that they facilitate deep comprehension and subsequent recollections in terms of paraphrases and discourse-based inferences, at the expense of memory for discourse verbatim. We follow the assumption of mental model theory and we argue that 1) the enactment favors a multi-modal (motor) representation of the sentences thus favoring learning, and 2) individuals construct a mental model from information semantically related. From these assumptions we derive the prediction that in case of learning of semantically associated words lists, when the words are accompanied by gestures at encoding, compared to when they are not, individuals will recall a greater number of words, but also a greater number of false memories, i.e., words semantically related to the words formerly presented. The results of our investigation confirm our prediction for self-produced gestures (Experiment 1), but not for observed gestures (Experiment 2). We discuss our results in relation with those in the literature.

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