Gesture and Speech Input are Interlocking Pieces: The Development of Children’s Jigsaw Puzzle Assembly Ability

Christopher YoungUniversity of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Erica CartmillUniversity of California, Los Angeles
Susan LevineUniversity of Chicago
Susan Goldin-MeadowUniversity of Chicago

Abstract

Spatial reasoning ability is enhanced by spatial activities and spatial language. Spatial games (e.g., block building, assembling jigsaw puzzles) are often accompanied by spatial language, which, in turn, is often accompanied by co-speech gesture. Here we investigate the effects of spatial language and gesture in the context of puzzle play in improving preschool children’s puzzle assembly ability. We do this by conducting a training study in which we independently manipulate the presence of spatial language and the presence of gesture in the context of four jigsaw puzzle training sessions. Our findings show that providing co-speech gesture along with spatial language is particularly effective in improving children’s ability to put together puzzles on their own.

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Gesture and Speech Input are Interlocking Pieces: The Development of Children’s Jigsaw Puzzle Assembly Ability (360 KB)



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