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Gesture Facilitates Children’s Creative Thinking

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Publication details

JournalPsychological Science
DateAccepted/In press - 24 Oct 2016
DatePublished (current) - 13 Dec 2016
Issue number2
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)225-232
Original languageEnglish


Gestures help people think and can help offer new ideas to problem solvers. We conducted two experiments exploring the self-oriented function of gesture in a novel domain; creative thinking. In Experiment 1 we explored the relationship between children’s spontaneous gesture production and their ability to generate novel uses for everyday items (Alternative Uses Task). There was a significant correlation between children’s creative fluency and their gesture production, with the majority of children’s gestures depicting an action upon the target object. Restricting children from gesturing did not significantly reduce their fluency. In Experiment 2 we encouraged children to gesture and this significantly boosted their creative idea generation. These findings demonstrate that gestures serve an important self-oriented function and can assist creative thinking.

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