Susan Wagner Cook

Susan Wagner Cook
University of Iowa | UI · Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

PhD

About

37
Publications
10,641
Reads
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3,214
Citations
Additional affiliations
August 2017 - present
University of Iowa
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
August 2008 - July 2017
University of Iowa
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
August 2006 - August 2008
University of Rochester
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (37)
Article
Full-text available
The Action-sentence Compatibility Effect (ACE) is a well-known demonstration of the role of motor activity in the comprehension of language. Participants are asked to make sensibility judgments on sentences by producing movements toward the body or away from the body. The ACE is the finding that movements are faster when the direction of the moveme...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose The aims of the study were to explore responses of children with developmental language disorder (DLD) to rich vocabulary instruction and to identify potential factors that contribute to outcomes. Method Children with DLD participated in a language intervention embedded within a science camp. Using parent and clinician reports, standardize...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Characteristics of both teachers and learners influence mathematical learning. For example, when teachers use hand gestures to support instruction, students learn more than others who learn the same concept with only speech, and students with higher working memory capacity (WMC) learn more rapidly than those with lower WMC. One hypothe...
Preprint
Full-text available
Purpose: To explore responses of children with developmental language disorders (DLD) to rich vocabulary instruction and to identify potential factors that contribute to outcomes.Method: Children with DLD participated in a language intervention embedded within a science camp. Using parent and clinician reports, standardized tests, probes, notes, an...
Article
During conversation, people integrate information from co-speech hand gestures with information in spoken language. For example, after hearing the sentence, "A piece of the log flew up and hit Carl in the face" while viewing a gesture directed at the nose, people tend to later report that the log hit Carl in the nose (information only in gesture) r...
Article
Co-speech hand gesture facilitates learning and memory, yet the cognitive and neural mechanisms supporting this remain unclear. One possibility is that motor information in gesture may engage procedural memory representations. Alternatively, iconic information from gesture may contribute to declarative memory representations mediated by the hippoca...
Chapter
Gestures are robust behaviors that influence communication, learning and memory. Here evidence that gesture can support math learning and word learning in children and adults is reviewed. Although there is robust evidence revealing beneficial effects of gesture on learning across ages and across domains, it is not clear what mechanisms underlie the...
Article
Hippocampal functioning contributes to our ability to generate multifaceted, imagistic event representations. Patients with hippocampal damage produce event narratives that contain fewer details and fewer imagistic features. We hypothesized that impoverished memory representations would influence language at the word level, yielding words lower in...
Article
The movements that we make with our body vary continuously along multiple dimensions. However, many of the tools and techniques presently used for coding and analyzing hand gestures and other body movements yield categorical outcome variables. Focusing on categorical variables as the primary quantitative outcomes may mislead researchers or distort...
Article
Education research has shown that instructor gestures can help capture, maintain, and direct the student’s attention during a lecture as well as enhance learning and retention. Traditional education research on instructor gestures relies on video stimuli, which are time consuming to produce, especially when gesture precision and consistency across...
Article
Pointing to locations can either help or hinder people's ability to recall spatial information. Prior research has focused on two‐dimensional spatial memory and pointing in real world tasks. The effect of pointing on three‐dimensional spatial memory in virtual environments remains unexplored. We examine this effect by comparing participants' recall...
Conference Paper
We present an approach for achieving scalable authoring of digital learning activities, without sacrificing delivery eloquence. A computer animation character serves as an instructor avatar that not only speaks but also makes deictic, iconic and charisma gestures. The avatar is controlled via a text script, without the prerequisites of computer pro...
Article
Spontaneous co-speech hand gestures provide a visuospatial representation of what is being communicated in spoken language. Although it is clear that gestures emerge from representations in memory for what is being communicated (De Ruiter, 1998; Wesp, Hesse, Keutmann, & Wheaton, 2001), the mechanism supporting the relationship between gesture and m...
Article
A beneficial effect of gesture on learning has been demonstrated in multiple domains, including mathematics, science, and foreign language vocabulary. However, because gesture is known to co-vary with other non-verbal behaviors, including eye gaze and prosody along with face, lip, and body movements, it is possible the beneficial effect of gesture...
Article
Communication is shaped both by what we are trying to say and by whom we are saying it to. We examined whether and how shared information influences the gestures speakers produce along with their speech. Unlike prior work examining effects of common ground on speech and gesture, we examined a situation in which some speakers have the same amount of...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Studies suggest that mimicking specific gestures prior to math instruction facilitates learning. However, benefits could be due to the eye movements that accompany gesture, rather than to gesture per se. Children (M age = 8 yrs, 9 mos) who solved pretest equations incorrectly were taught a correct strategy for solving equations. They were randomly...
Article
Full-text available
In this position paper, we describe a novel approach for creating visual stimuli for research on gesture in instruction. The approach is based on a system of computer animation instructor avatars whose gesture is controlled with a script. Compared to video recording instructor actors, the approach has the advantage of efficiency—once the script is...
Article
Full-text available
Hand gesture, a ubiquitous feature of human interaction, facilitates communication. Gesture also facilitates new learning, benefiting speakers and listeners alike. Thus, gestures must impact cognition beyond simply supporting the expression of already-formed ideas. However, the cognitive and neural mechanisms supporting the effects of gesture on le...
Article
Children who observe gesture while learning mathematics perform better than children who do not, when tested immediately after training. How does observing gesture influence learning over time? Children (n = 184, ages = 7-10) were instructed with a videotaped lesson on mathematical equivalence and tested immediately after training and 24 hr later....
Article
Full-text available
Gesturing is ubiquitous in communication and serves an important function for listeners, who are able to glean meaningful information from the gestures they see. But gesturing also functions for speakers, whose own gestures reduce demands on their working memory. Here we ask whether gesture's beneficial effects on working memory stem from its prope...
Article
The spontaneous gestures that speakers produce when they talk about a task reflect aspects of the speakers' knowledge about that task, aspects that are often not found in the speech that accompanies the gestures. But gesture can go beyond reflecting a speaker's current knowledge-it frequently presages the next steps the speaker will take in acquiri...
Article
When people are asked to perform actions, they remember those actions better than if they are asked to talk about the same actions. But when people talk, they often gesture with their hands, thus adding an action component to talking. The question we asked in this study was whether producing gesture along with speech makes the information encoded i...
Article
We explored how speakers and listeners use hand gestures as a source of perceptual-motor information during naturalistic communication. After solving the Tower of Hanoi task either with real objects or on a computer, speakers explained the task to listeners. Speakers' hand gestures, but not their speech, reflected properties of the particular objec...
Article
Full-text available
How does gesturing help children learn? Gesturing might encourage children to extract meaning implicit in their hand movements. If so, children should be sensitive to the particular movements they produce and learn accordingly. Alternatively, all that may matter is that children move their hands. If so, they should learn regardless of which movemen...
Article
Full-text available
Speakers often have choices about how to structure their utterances. However, even though multiple alternatives may be acceptable in theory, often one of them will be preferred over the others. The question we explored here was what happens when speakers produce less preferred alternatives. We developed a new experimental paradigm to reliably elici...
Article
The gestures children spontaneously produce when explaining a task predict whether they will subsequently learn that task. Why? Gesture might simply reflect a child's readiness to learn a particular task. Alternatively, gesture might itself play a role in learning the task. To investigate these alternatives, we experimentally manipulated children's...
Article
Full-text available
We explored the perceptual motor information expressed by speakers, and encoded by listeners when engaged in naturalistic communication. After solving the Tower of Hanoi task either with real objects or on a computer, speakers explained the Tower of Hanoi task to listeners. Speakers expressed properties of the objects that had been used to solve th...
Article
Full-text available
Speakers routinely gesture with their hands when they talk, and those gestures often convey information not found anywhere in their speech. This information is typically not consciously accessible, yet it provides an early sign that the speaker is ready to learn a particular task (S. Goldin-Meadow, 2003). In this sense, the unwitting gestures that...
Article
Full-text available
Adding gesture to spoken instructions makes those instructions more effective. The question we ask here is why. A group of 49 third and fourth grade children were given instruction in mathematical equivalence with gesture or without it. Children given in- struction that included a correct problem-solving strategy in gesture were signifi- cantly mor...
Article
When people talk they gesture, and those gestures often reflect thoughts not expressed in their words. In this sense, gesture and the speech it accompanies can mismatch. Gesture-speech 'mismatches' are found when learners are on the verge of making progress on a task - when they are ready to learn. Moreover, mismatches provide insight into the ment...
Article
What type of mental representation underlies the gestures that accompany speech? We used a dual-task paradigm to compare the demands gesturing makes on visuospatial and verbal working memories. Participants in one group remembered a string of letters (verbal working memory group) and those in a second group remembered a visual grid pattern (visuosp...
Article
Full-text available
Why is it that people cannot keep their hands still when they talk? One reason may be that gesturing actually lightens cognitive load while a person is thinking of what to say. We asked adults and children to remember a list of letters or words while explaining how they solved a math problem. Both groups remembered significantly more items when the...