Author ORCID Identifier

Fey Parrill

Document Type


Publication Date



Brain anatomy is typically taught using static images. We asked participants to use their own hands to represent the brain and perform gestures during learning. We measured learning via a pretest/postest design. We compared five video trainings in which participants heard similar audio and repeated terminology aloud. Conditions were: (1) Image: Participants saw images of a physical model of the brain. (2) Physical model: Participants saw hands pointing to the physical model. (3) Physical model + action: Participants performed actions on the physical model. (4) Hand model: Participants saw images of hands being used to represent the brain. (5) Hand model + action: Participants performed gestures seen in the video. All trainings improved post-test performance. Performance in the hand model condition was worse compared to conditions with action. We connect these findings to the larger claim that gesture benefits learning.


action, brain anatomy, embodiment, gesture, learning, multimedia

Publication Title

Applied Cognitive Psychology





First Page


Last Page



© 2023 The Authors. Applied Cognitive Psychology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.