Speech paired with gesture has been shown to
enhance memory for spoken information when compared to speech alone (Beattie & Shovelton, 1999; Goldin-Meadow, 2014; Koumoutsakis, et al., 2016 ; Macoun & Sweller, 2016, Valenzeno, Alibali, & Klatzky, 2003). Further,
when gestures provide information that goes beyond what is presented in speech,
listeners readily insert information from gesture into their recollection of
that speech (Cassel, McNeill, & McCullough, 1998; Kelly, et al., 1999). Our research asserts that such
profound effects of gesture on memory are the result of the formation of an
integrated representation of gesture and speech in memory – one which is uniquely
co-activated during retrieval whereby retrieval of speech leads the
co-activation of gestural information (Overoye & Storm, 2018). Additionally, our work examines the boundaries for when gesture and
speech are integrated and explore potential mechanisms by which gestures become
co-activated during retrieval of speech (Overoye & Storm, 2018).
Memory is a dynamic system which continuously adapts and changes to accommodate new information. When information is retrieved from memory it becomes reactivated in such a way that memories become plastic and can be disrupted or enhanced by the present context (e.g., Hupbach, Gomez, & Nadel, 2009). Our research investigates the conditions under which memory is made most adaptable such as exploring the how different types of retrieval (Overoye & Storm, in prep) and contextualization of information (Overoye, James, & Storm, in prep) can potentiate new learning.