Document Detail

Origins of the human pointing gesture: a training study.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23106736     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
Despite its importance in the development of children's skills of social cognition and communication, very little is known about the ontogenetic origins of the pointing gesture. We report a training study in which mothers gave children one month of extra daily experience with pointing as compared with a control group who had extra experience with musical activities. One hundred and two infants of 9, 10, or 11 months of age were seen at the beginning, middle, and end of this one-month period and tested for declarative pointing and gaze following. Infants'ability to point with the index finger at the end of the study was not affected by the training but was instead predicted by infants' prior ability to follow the gaze direction of an adult. The frequency with which infants pointed indexically was also affected by infant gaze following ability and, in addition, by maternal pointing frequency in free play, but not by training. In contrast, infants' ability to monitor their partner's gaze when pointing, and the frequency with which they did so, was affected by both training and maternal pointing frequency in free play. These results suggest that prior social cognitive advances, rather than adult socialization of pointing per se, determine the developmental onset of indexical pointing, but socialization processes such as imitation and adult shaping subsequently affect both infants' ability to monitor their interlocutor's gaze while they point and how frequently infants choose to point.
Danielle Matthews; Tanya Behne; Elena Lieven; Michael Tomasello
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2012-09-07
Journal Detail:
Title:  Developmental science     Volume:  15     ISSN:  1467-7687     ISO Abbreviation:  Dev Sci     Publication Date:  2012 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-10-30     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9814574     Medline TA:  Dev Sci     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  817-29     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Department of Psychology, University of Sheffield, UK  Department of Developmental Psychology, University of Göttingen, Germany  School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester, UK  Department of Developmental and Comparative Psychology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany.
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