Do you gesture while talking? It helps

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

LONDON - Talking with your hands can trigger images that help solve complex problems bearing on spatial visualisation, an important skill for both students and professionals.

Spatial visualisation is the ability to mentally rotate or move an object to a different position or view. An air traffic controller uses spatial visualisation to mentally track planes in the air based only on a two-dimensional radar screen, reports the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General.

An interior decorator needs spatial visualisation to picture how a living room will look with a sofa in different positions without actually moving the sofa, according to a University of Birmingham statement.

Hand gestures are spontaneous and don’t need to be taught, but they can improve spatial visualisation, said psychologist Mingyuan Chu, who conducted the research with psychologist Sotaro Kita, at the University of Birmingham, UK.

From Galileo and Einstein to da Vinci and Picasso, influential scientific discoveries and artistic masterpieces might never have been achieved without extraordinary spatial visualization skills.

Researchers tested 132 students individually at the University of Birmingham. Using a hidden camera, they recorded the number of hand gestures and found that spontaneous gestures increased as the problems became more difficult.

Filed under: Science and Technology

will not be displayed