ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2014, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (9): 1496-1503.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2014.01496

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Pointing Gestures: Evidence from Animal Communication System

LI Heng   

  1. (College of Foreign Languages; Beihang University; Beijing 100191, China)
  • Received:2013-11-28 Online:2014-09-15 Published:2014-09-15
  • Contact: LI Heng, E-mail:


Pointing gestures are usually defined as the manual movements pointing to an object or location. Whether Pointing gestures are unique to human communication system is a question of intense psychological research. A comprehensive review of the main theories and related debates suggests that animals may not only have the ability to use pointing gestures, but also can interpret the social cognitive intentionality behind pointing gestures. We conclude that future researches on pointing gestures should integrate psychology, linguistics, biology and other multidisciplinary integration. We also offer suggestions for overcoming the drawbacks of research samples, experiment task and research method.

Key words: pointing gestures, animal communication system, theoretical model