Effects of Pointing Gestures on Memory for (In)Congruent Stimuli in Children and Young Adults

Kim Ouwehand*, Katinka Dijkstra, Tamara van Gog, Fred Paas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We investigated whether finger pointing toward picture locations can be used as an external cognitive control tool to guide attention and compensate for the immature cognitive control functions in children compared with young adults. Item and source memory performance was compared for picture-location pairs that were either semantically congruent (e.g., a cloud presented at the upper half of the screen) or incongruent (e.g., a cloud presented at the lower part of the screen). Contrary to our expectations, pointing had an adverse effect on source memory compared to visual observation only, in both age groups. As expected, superior source memory performance was found for congruent compared to incongruent picture-locations pairs in both age groups. These findings suggest that pointing toward pictures compared to only viewing may hamper memory, and that congruent picture locations are easier to remember than incongruent ones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-99
Number of pages8
JournalMind, Brain, and Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


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