Imitation of a Pedagogical Agent’s Gestures Enhances Memory for Words in Second Language
Science Journal of Education
Volume 2, Issue 5, October 2014, Pages: 162-169
Received: Oct. 13, 2014; Accepted: Oct. 28, 2014; Published: Nov. 10, 2014
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Manuela Macedonia, Department for Information Systems, Johannes Kepler University, Linz, Austria ; Research Group Neural Mechanisms of Human Communication, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany
Kirsten Bergmann, SFB 673, CITEC, Bielefeld University, Germany
Friedrich Roithmayr, Department for Information Systems, Johannes Kepler University, Linz, Austria
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Pedagogical agents (PAs) are virtual characters in computer-based learning environments. PAs can train humans in various domains. Here, a PA cues subjects to learn vocabulary items through enactment, i.e., to perform an illustrative gesture while learning a word. It is well known that enactment impacts memory. Also, imitation is a natural mechanism driving learning. Combining both enactment and imitation could improve memory even more. In a within-subjects study, 44 school children learned 45 vocabulary items according to three conditions: an audio-visual baseline, an observation condition (participants watched the PA during enactment) and an imitation condition (participants imitated the PA’s gestures). We documented learning progress by cued recall tests. Over four days, we found that, compared to the baseline and to mere observation, imitation of enactment significantly enhanced memory for words in the foreign language.
Pedagogical Agent, Multilingualism, Imitation, Enactment, Gestures, Memory
To cite this article
Manuela Macedonia, Kirsten Bergmann, Friedrich Roithmayr, Imitation of a Pedagogical Agent’s Gestures Enhances Memory for Words in Second Language, Science Journal of Education. Vol. 2, No. 5, 2014, pp. 162-169. doi: 10.11648/j.sjedu.20140205.15
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