ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (3): 426-433.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2020.00426

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A new perspective on the cognitive function of gestures: The “spatializing” gesture hypothesis

YU Wenhua1, LU Zhongyi2()   

  1. 1 College of Preschool Education, Hebei Normal University, Shijiazhuang 050024, China
    2 Department of Psychology, College of Education, Hebei Normal University, Shijiazhuang 050024, China
  • Received:2018-09-20 Online:2020-03-15 Published:2020-01-18
  • Contact: Zhongyi LU


Human beings often make gestures when talking or thinking. Gestures are generated automatically during cognitive processing or communication, and as representations, they in turn affect human cognitive processing. Although researchers have different emphasis on the concept of gestures, it is generally believed that gestures are different from direct actions and have internal and external cognitive functions. Seminal theoretical models include Lexical Index Model, Information Packing Hypothesis, Image Maintenance Theory, Semantic Specificity Hypothesis and Embodied/Extended Perspective. According to the main independent variables, the research paradigms fall into three categories, namely, allow-and-limit gestures, the change of gesture patterns, and changes of situation. In addition to in-depth study of the neural mechanism of cognitive functions of gestures and their intervention research, this paper proposes a theoretical model with more explanatory power - the "Spatializing" Gesture Hypothesis.

Key words: gestures, cognitive function, lexical index, information package, embodied cognition