When people talk, they gesture. We now know that these gestures are associated with learning. They can index moments of cognitive instability and reflect thoughts not yet found in speech. In this talk, "Hearing Gesture: How Our Hands Help Us Think," Susan Goldin-Meadow raises the possibility that gesture might do more than just reflect learning -- it might be involved in the learning process itself. Meadow considers two non-mutually exclusive possibilities. First, gesture could play a role in the learning process by displaying, for all to see, the learner's newest, and perhaps undigested, thoughts. Second, gesture could play a role in the learning process more directly by providing another representational format, one that would allow the learner to explore, perhaps with less effort, ideas that may be difficult to think through in a verbal format.

Susan Goldin-Meadow is the Bearsdley Ruml Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago where she is a member of the Departments of Psychology and Comparative Human Development and the Committee on Education. A year spent at the Piagetian Institute in Geneva while an undergraduate piqued her interest in the relation between language and thought, interests that she has explored and continues to explore through gesture––the home-made gestures children create when not exposed to language, and the gestures we all produce when we talk (and what they tell us about how we think). She is the founding Editor of Language Learning and Development, former Associate Editor of Developmental Psychology, Applied Psycholinguistics, and Cognitive Science, and current Associate Editor of Gesture. She has served as President of the Cognitive Development Society, a member of the Board of Directors for the Association for Psychological Science, and secretary of the Society for Research in Child Development. She is currently President of the International Society for Gesture Studies and a member of the board of directors Cognitive Science. She served on the Advisory Council for the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders at NIH and was elected to the American Academy for Arts and Sciences in 2005.


The Brown Palace Hotel
321 17th Street
Denver, Colorado



$10/recent graduate (College graduates of the past ten years and professional school graduates of the past five years)


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Register By Phone: 773.702.7788

Deadline: 2/27/2013


6:00 PM-7:00 PM: Registration and reception

7:00 PM-8:30 PM: Lecture and discussion


Kelly Doody