Paper - A prelinguistic gestural universal of human communication

  • Metadata:
    • author: Ulf Liszkowski, Penny Brown, Tara Callaghan, Akira Takada, Conny de Vos
    • title: A prelinguistic gestural universal of human communication
    • year: 20122012

    • url: Weblink
  • Background:
    • The pointing gesture in infantspointing gesture in infants
      Social pointing in infants develops between 9 months (understanding) and 12 months (production) and is a fundamental communicative gesture. Prior, pointing is primarily used for private purposes, l...
      is a fundamental form of prelinguistic communication, but has mostly been researched in western children
    • In other cultures, adults do not point with their fingers as much, so if sociocultural theory is right, the development of the pointing should differ in these cultures
  • Research Question:
    • Is pointing a universal form of prelinguistic communication?
  • Method:
    • 7-17 month old infants
    • Infants were seated in the caretakers lap
    • An assortment of toys and images was placed in front of them -> 5 minutes of freeplay
    • All pointing gestures were coded
  • Results:
    • All infants use pointing gestures in similar numbers, regardless of culture
    • beginning from 10 months, they start using the index finger to point
    • beginning from 12 months, they primarily use the index finger to point
    • generally, pointing was sequential/reactional -> interactive/conversational structure
  • Interpretation:
    • The pointing gestures is universal in its functionality as a prelinguistic form of communication via gestures.