- Mar 2022
The study’s authors suggest that this discrepancy may emerge fromdifferences in boys’ and girls’ experience: boys are more likely to play withspatially oriented toys and video games, they note, and may become morecomfortable making spatial gestures as a result. Another study, this oneconducted with four-year-olds, reported that children who were encouraged togesture got better at rotating mental objects, another task that draws heavily onspatial-thinking skills. Girls in this experiment were especially likely to benefitfrom being prompted to gesture.
The gender-based disparity of spatial thinking skills between boys and girls may result from the fact that at an early age boys are more likely to play with spatially oriented toys and video games. Encouraging girls to do more spatial gesturing at an earlier age can dramatically close this spatial thinking gap.
Yet the most popular and widely viewed instructional videos available onlinelargely fail to leverage the power of gesture, according to a team ofpsychologists from UCLA and California State University, Los Angeles. Theresearchers examined the top one hundred videos on YouTube devoted toexplaining the concept of standard deviation, an important topic in the study ofstatistics. In 68 percent of these recordings, they report, the instructor’s handswere not even visible. In the remaining videos, instructors mostly used theirhands to point or to make emphatic “beat” gestures. They employed symbolicgestures—the type of gesture that is especially helpful in conveying abstractconcepts—in fewer than 10 percent of the videos reviewed.
Symbolic gestures, which are the most valuable for relaying abstract information, are some of the least seen in online digital pedagogy. Slightly more frequent are "beat" gestures that are used for emphatic emphasis, while in the majority of studied online instructional videos the lecturers hands aren't seen on the video at all.
“symbolic gestures”—movementsthat capture the overall meaning of the speaker’s message—along with what arecalled “beat gestures”: hand motions that serve to punctuate a particular point.
There are two broad types of gestures: - symbolic gestures: movements that help to capture the semantic meaning of one's message; - beat gestures which serve to punctuate one's points.
Are there other gesture types or classifications? Is there research on the perceived ability of actors who perform these techniques? What about small facial movements like eyebrows which may serve these functions as well.
Relate to micro facial movement research as means of communicating emotion.