Thinking with Your Hands
The Surprising Science Behind How Gestures Shape Our Thoughts
An eminent psychologist argues that gesture, long overlooked, is essential to how we think
We all know people who talk with their hands—but do they know what they’re saying with them? Our gestures can reveal and contradict us, and express thoughts we may not even know we’re thinking.
In Thinking with Your Hands, esteemed cognitive psychologist Susan Goldin-Meadow argues that gesture is vital to how we think, learn, and communicate. She shows us, for instance, how the height of our gestures can reveal unconscious bias, or how the shape of a student’s gestures can track their mastery of a new concept—even when they’re still giving wrong answers. She compels us to rethink everything from how we set child development milestones, to what’s admissible in a court of law, to whether Zoom is an adequate substitute for in-person conversation.
Sweeping and ambitious, Thinking with Your Hands promises to transform the way we think about language and communication.
—Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, and the author of The Language Instinct
“Susan Goldin-Meadow has astonished the scientific community time and again with her pathbreaking discoveries. Now she has written a tour de force for the rest of the world to benefit from. Thinking With Your Hands is one of those rare books that doesn’t just entertain and inform but changes the way you think about yourself and the people around you. It should be required reading for anyone who has ever used their hands to convey an idea or witnessed someone else do the same, which is to say, all of us.”—Ethan Kross, bestselling author of Chatter
—Simon Kirby, Professor of Language Evolution, University of Edinburgh