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Spontaneous gesture frequently accompanies speech. The question is why. In these studies, we tested two non-mutually exclusive possibilities. First, speakers may gesture simply because they see others gesture and learn from this model to move their hands as they talk. We tested this hypothesis by examining spontaneous communication in congenitally blind children and adolescents. Second, speakers may gesture because they recognize that gestures can be useful to the listener. We tested this hypothesis by examining whether speakers gesture even when communicating with a blind listener who is unable to profit from the information that the hands convey. We found that congenitally blind speakers, who had never seen gestures, nevertheless gestured as they spoke, conveying the same information and producing the same range of gesture forms as sighted speakers. Moreover, blind speakers gestured even when interacting with another blind individual who could not have benefited from the information contained in those gestures. These findings underscore the robustness of gesture in talk and suggest that the gestures that co-occur with speech may serve a function for the speaker as well as for the listener.