Hand movement improves word memory of Grade 1 students

Tsz Wing Tsang, Hui Jing Lu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Moving the hands or chewing in the encoding stage enhances memory, because body movement activates the frontal cortex, which is crucial to the memory process. However, how hand movement facilitates word memory in an applied setting and whether it produces long-term effects remain unclear. Grade 1 students studied 15 new words through different strategies: fun hand movement, verbal repetition, listening (Study 1), copying words, and pure hand movement (Study 2). They recalled the words immediately, 25 minutes later, and 3 days later. Their memory performance was the best under the pure hand movement condition and the poorest under the verbal repetition and listening conditions. Moreover, the 3-day delayed recall was similar to the immediate recall under the pure hand movement condition, whereas recall decreased after 3 days in other conditions. These findings demonstrate effective strategies of word memory for vocabulary learning in classroom settings.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of School and Educational Psychology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Jan 2021


  • Hand movement
  • memory
  • verbal repetition
  • vocabulary learning
  • word copying

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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