A new paper by Ana B. García-Gámez, Óscar Cervilla, Alba Casado and Pedro Macizo is now available: Seeing or acting? The effect of performing gestures on foreign language vocabulary learning Click here for more information!
We evaluate the impact of gestures during the teaching of vocabulary in a foreign language (FL). Spanish speakers learned words in a FL in four gesture conditions according to the relationship between the meaning of the words and the gestures (congruent gestures, incongruent gestures, gestures without meaning, and no gestures). The participants learned the words by performing gestures (‘do’ teaching group) or by observing the gestures performed by others (‘see’ teaching group). Compared to the meaningless gesture condition, the processing of congruent gestures facilitated the recall of second language (L2) words in the ‘see’ and ‘do’ teaching groups. However, the interference effect associated with the processing of incongruent gestures was greater in the ‘see’ teaching group than in the ‘do’ teaching group. Thus, the performance of gestures seems to mitigate the negative impact that the use of gestures may have on the teaching of vocabulary in a foreign language.