Gestures help grasp new languages more easily

For the new study,researchers enrolled 20 volunteers for a 6-day course to learn an artificial language,Vimmi.

Written by ANI | London | Published: January 4, 2012 3:47:19 pm

People learn new languages more easily when words are accompanied by gestures,a new study has found.

For the new study,Manuela Macedonia and Thomas Knosche from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig,Germany,enrolled 20 volunteers for a six-day course to learn “Vimmi”.

Vimmi is an artificial language designed to make study results easier to interpret,New Scientist reported.

The volunteers were taught half of the material using spoken and written instructions and exercises,while the other half was taught with body movements to accompany each word,which the students were asked to act out.

The researchers found that the students significantly remembered more of the words that were taught to them with movement,and used them more readily when creating new sentences.

They were surprised to find that the trick also worked for abstract words like “rather” that have no obvious gestural equivalent.

Based on fMRI scans,Macedonia and Knosche argue that the enactment of words helps memory by creating a more complex representation that makes it more easily retrieved.

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