Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Tonya Bergeson-Dana


This study examined whether gesture impacts recollection of auditory and visual stimuli. In two experiments, adults were presented with visual images or auditory recordings describing dynamic scenes. After participating in a distraction task, the adults were asked to recall the stimuli they saw or heard in the scenes. In the first experiment, half of the participants were able to gesture naturally when recalling; the others were prohibited from gesturing. Because of the first study’s results, a second study was designed to test how gesture is impacted in different conversational types. In the second study, all participants were able to gesture naturally. The results of the first study revealed that adults recalled auditory and visual stimuli similarly, regardless of gesture condition. However, the results of the combined data of both Experiment 1 and Experiment 2 for the natural gesture condition demonstrated that individuals were more likely to gesture when participating in the recall task than when they were engaging in the conversational distraction task. The implications of these results are that gesture is impacted by the type of communication, and more specifically, gesture is more frequently utilized when trying to recall a piece of information, in comparison to conversational communication.