Hand Gestures Solve Complex Problems Through Visualization

According to the American Psychological Association, hand gestures help in solving complex problems through spatial visualization. This makes it an important skill for the professionals as well as the students. Spatial visualization refers to the ability to move or rotate an object, mentally, to a different view or position.

Mingyuan Chu, a PhD and a psychologist, who carried out the research along with the psychologist Sotaro Kita, at the University of Birmingham, England, says that hand gestures are natural and spontaneous which can greatly improve our spatial visualization. Amazing artistic masterpieces of Da Vinci or Picasso or the influential scientific discoveries of Einstein and Galileo would not have been possible without the spatial visualization skills, opines the researcher.

The researchers conducted three experiments on about 200 students at the University of Birmingham to prove their point. The hand gestures assist a person in keeping a track of an object in the mind. The gestures might provide some visual cues and additional feedback by simulating the movement of the object when it would be held by our hands.

This might help people working in the scientific fields like physics, engineering and mathematics. Besides these fields, professions which require the usage of diagrams and images can also be benefited by using hand gestures. Similarly, researchers feel that students of physics and arts should be encouraged to use the gestures of the hands to understand a concept or create a picture in their mind. The research is published in Journal of Experimental Psychology: General (February edition)

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