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Academic Paper

Title: Verbal memory resources predict iconic gesture use among monolinguals and bilinguals
Author: Lisa Smithson
Institution: University of Alberta
Author: Elena Nicoladis
Institution: University of Alberta
Linguistic Field: Discourse Analysis; Pragmatics; Psycholinguistics
Abstract: Researchers have speculated that gesture use may be linked to working memory capacity. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the architectures of working memory differ among monolinguals and bilinguals, and to investigate whether individual differences in working memory predict gesture use. Participants relayed a narrative and their gesture production was assessed. Working memory capacity was tested using the Automated Working Memory Assessment (Alloway, 2007). The results provide evidence for different working memory architectures among monolinguals and bilinguals. Additionally, verbal memory significantly predicted iconic gesture use in both language groups, although in slightly different ways. These results are discussed with respect to the functional roles that working memory and gestures serve among monolingual and bilingual populations.


This article appears IN Bilingualism: Language and Cognition Vol. 16, Issue 4, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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