This study examined spatial story representations created by speaker's cohesive gestures. Participants were presented with three-sentence discourse with two protagonists. In the first and second sentences, gestures consistently located the two protagonists in the gesture space: one to the right and the other to the left. The third sentence (without gestures) referred to one of the protagonists, and the participants responded with one of the two keys to indicate the relevant protagonist. The response keys were either spatially congruent or incongruent with the gesturally established locations for the two participants. Though the cohesive gestures did not provide any clue for the correct response, they influenced performance: the reaction time in the congruent condition was faster than that in the incongruent condition. Thus, cohesive gestures automatically establish spatial story representations and the spatial story representations remain activated in a subsequent sentence without any gesture.
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