The studies presented in this dissertation aimed to investigate whether observing or producing deictic gestures (i.e., pointing and tracing gestures to index a referent in space or a movement pathway), could facilitate memory and learning in children, young adults, and older adults. More specifically, regarding memory it was investigated whether the use of deictic gestures would improve performance on tasks targeting cognitive functions that are found to change with age (working memory, cognitive control, and source memory). In addition, it was investigated whether any found effects would be more pronounced for children in whom these cognitive functions are still developing, and for older adults, in whom these cognitive functions have been found to suffer from age-related declines.

The first part of this dissertation presented studies investigating the effect of observing deictic gestures made by a human model during instruction of a problem-solving task on children’s, young adults’ and older adults’ learning (Chapter 2) and young adults’ visual attention (Chapter 3). The second part presented studies investigating the effect of making deictic gestures during encoding on spatial source memory in young and older adults (Chapter 4) and in children and young adults (Chapter 5), as well as on visuospatial working memory in young and older adults (Chapter 6).

G.W.C. Paas (Fred) , T.A.J.M. van Gog (Tamara)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
ICO Dissertation series
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Ouwehand, K. (2016, January 15). Effects of observing and producing deictic gestures on memory and learning in different age groups. ICO Dissertation series. Retrieved from