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Abstract

Two alternative accounts have been proposed to explain the role of gestures in thinking and speaking. The Information Packaging Hypothesis (Kita, 2000) claims that gestures are important for the conceptual packaging of information before it is coded into a linguistic form for speech. The Lexical Retrieval Hypothesis (Rauscher, Krauss & Chen, 1996) sees gestures as functioning more at the level of speech production in helping the speaker to find the right words. The latter hypothesis has not been fully explored with children. In this study children were given a naming task under conditions that allowed and restricted gestures. Children named more words correctly and resolved more ‘tip-of-the-tongue’ states when allowed to gesture than when not, suggesting that gestures facilitate access to the lexicon in children and are important for speech production as well as conceptualization.