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Title: How seeing iconic gestures facilitates action event memory and verb learning in 3-year-old children
Author: Aussems, Suzanne
ISNI:       0000 0004 7223 9512
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2017
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People naturally produce iconic gestures when they speak. Iconic gestures that depict people's actions may influence the way children process action events. This dissertation investigates experimentally whether seeing such iconic gestures promotes 3-year-old children's action event memory and verb learning. Chapter 1 introduces the topic and presents an outline of the dissertation. Chapter 2 provides a working de nition of gesture and a literature review on iconicity. Chapter 3 describes the development and norming of a large database that contains stimuli videos of actions events and iconic gestures. Action videos showed actors moving in unusual manners and iconic gestures depicted how the actors moved. Chapter 4 examines whether children remember action events differently when they see iconic gestures while encoding these events. Seeing iconic gestures that depicted how actors moved while encoding action events boosted children's memory of actors and their actions. Specifically, children showed better memory for event aspects that were depicted in gesture. Chapter 5 asks whether prior action knowledge promotes verb learning and whether seeing iconic gestures influences this process. Pre-exposure to unlabeled actions facilitated verb learning when those actions were shown with iconic gestures and when children were shown two actors performing the same actions simultaneously, but children performed better in the iconic-gesture condition. Chapter 6 investigates whether children learn that verbs typically refer to actions from seeing iconic gestures that depict individual verb meanings. Children who were taught verbs with iconic gestures demonstrated such word-category knowledge about verbs in an immediate and delayed novel verb learning task in which different novel verbs were taught without iconic gestures. Chapter 7 discusses theoretical and practical implications of the experimental findings. Iconic gestures are meaningful social cues that help children individuate people's actions, encode and remember complex action events, acquire individual verb meanings, and generate word-category knowledge about verbs.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Warwick ; Institute for Advanced Studies
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology