The Influence of Body Movements on Encoding and Story Recall in Preschool-Aged Children

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Principal Investigator: Abigail Smyth (Honors Thesis)

Research Assistant: Olivia Paige

“The driving force of my research has been my passion for dance and my love of children. Over the past semester, I have been doing an extension on an Honors Thesis research project in which we combined a variety of conditions into a novel study that investigated gesture during encoding/recall, and immediate/long-term memory processes in preschoolers. We predicted that overall, the more children danced to aid their retrieval, the more they would remember. The effect of movement on immediate and long-term memory was examined in 40 preschool children (M = 4.26, SD = 0.52), who encoded by listening to a story, and/or watching or performing a corresponding dance, and were separated into gesture/no gesture conditions for immediate and long-term memory. Results of the study demonstrate significant differences between immediate and long-term recall, and non-significant trends supporting embodied cognition, encoding specificity, and our hypothesis. We hope that these findings highlight the need for future research to investigate the potential positive effects of movement on recall in preschool-aged children.”

-Abigail Smyth

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