Encouraging children to produce rhythmic beat gestures leads to better narrative discourse performances

Ingrid Vilà-Giménez, Pilar Prieto


Recent research has shown that when preschoolers listen to a speaker who is simultaneously making beat gestures, this favors their recall and comprehension of what they have heard and also boosts their narrative performance. However, previous studies have not tested the effect of encouraging children to produce beat gestures while retelling narratives—as opposed to merely observing them—on their narrative performances. In this study, a total of 47 five- and six-year-old children participated in a between-subjects brief training study experiment with a pretest and an immediate posttest design. Children were exposed to a training phase with a total of six one-minute stories, presented under two experimental conditions: 1) beat non-encouraging condition, and 2) beat encouraging condition. Video recordings of the pretest and posttest narratives were then scored for narrative structure and fluency. A comparison of scores showed that children in the group that had been encouraged to use beat gestures performed better than the group of children who were simply asked to retell the story without gesture instruction. All in all, this evidence suggests that encouraging the use of beat gestures by children helps to boost their subsequent narrative performance.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-143

Cite as: Vilà-Giménez, I., Prieto, P. (2018) Encouraging children to produce rhythmic beat gestures leads to better narrative discourse performances. Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018, 704-708, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-143.


@inproceedings{Vilà-Giménez2018,
  author={Ingrid {Vilà-Giménez} and Pilar Prieto},
  title={Encouraging children to produce rhythmic beat gestures leads to better narrative discourse performances},
  year=2018,
  booktitle={Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018},
  pages={704--708},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-143},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-143}
}