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Gestures Enhance Executive Functions for the Understating of Mathematical Concepts

Abstract

This article discusses the role of gestures in enhancing inhibition, working memory, and cognitive flexibility as the three components of executive functions during the processing of mathematical concepts that are metaphorically described in terms of motion events. Gestures can contribute to the process of inhibition by highlighting the relevant information and keeping the irrelevant information out of focus of attention. Gestures contribute to working memory in two ways during mathematical processing. They increase activity in the motor areas of the brain. Therefore, they may facilitate the process of understanding those mathematical concepts that are described in terms of motion event, as the motor system could play a role in the grounding and the processing of these concepts. Also, gestures can function as an external working memory and keep the visual representation of some parts of information for a short period of time in order to manipulate that information in later stages of processing. Gestures enhance cognitive flexibility by allowing us to have a spatial representation of that concept or idea for a period of time. During this time, we can shift our perspective and process that concept or idea from a variety of perspectives.

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Data sharing not applicable to this article as no datasets were generated or analyzed during the current study.

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Khatin-Zadeh, O., Eskandari, Z. & Marmolejo-Ramos, F. Gestures Enhance Executive Functions for the Understating of Mathematical Concepts. Integr. psych. behav. (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12124-022-09694-4

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Keywords

  • Gestures
  • Executive functions
  • Mathematical concepts
  • Embodied cognition