ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (10): 1705-1712.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2017.01705

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 The relationship between infants’ pointing gestures and language learning

 WU Zhen; GUO Rui   

  1.  (Department of Psychology, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China)
  • Received:2016-10-11 Online:2017-10-15 Published:2017-08-13
  • Contact: WU Zhen, E-mail: E-mail:E-mail:
  • Supported by:

Abstract:  A pointing gesture is the simultaneous extension of the arm and index finger to something in space, such as an object, a person, a location, or an event. Pointing emerges around 12 months of age, and is positively associated with infants’ language learning; however, it is not clear why such a correlation exists. In this paper, we consider two processes that could influence the relationship between pointing and language development: (1) pointing may influence learning by eliciting contingent linguistic input from the social environment; (2) pointing may create an effective learning state in infants. Future studies are needed to examine how the dynamic interaction of these two processes facilitate language learning, and to explore the use of pointing as a diagnostic or intervention tool for children who are at risk for language delays.

Key words: pointing gesture, language learning, joint attention, language delay, infants

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