Abstract: The spontaneous gestures that people produce when they talk can index cognitive instability and reflect thoughts not yet found in speech. But gesture can go beyond reflecting thought to play a role in changing thought. I consider whether gesture brings about change because it is itself an action and thus brings action into our mental representations. I provide evidence for this hypothesis but suggest that it's not the whole story. Gesture is a special kind of action––it is representational and thus more abstract than direct action on objects, which may be what allows gesture to play a role in learning.