• Adult gesture trajectories as a function of stimulus height
  • Boxes depicting the location of gestures directed at different addressees
  • Examples pointing gestures produced by a cartoon avatar standing at a whiteboard
  • Graphs showing that learners with high visuospatial working memory learn more with gesture
  • Graph showing that patients with amnesia re-tell information from gesture
  • Three images of a cartoon boy producing two handed outward movements


The Communication, Cognition and Learning Lab is located at the Unviersity of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa and is directed by Susan Wagner Cook.


Our research goals

When people talk, they gesture, changing the location and shape of their hands in precise coordination with what they say. Research in our lab explores how and why people gesture when they speak. 


  • What do gestures reveal about human thinking? about human development?
  • What information is encoded in gesture?
  • What information do listeners extract from gesture?
  • Why do children learn more when they see gesture or produce gesture?

Our findings suggest that human thinking emerges from the simulataneous activation and interaction of abstract, symbolic structures and visible, bodily behavior, and that this interaction draws on multiple memory systems.

Thank you for visiting our website. We invite you to take a look at our publications, and to find out about current work in the lab.