ERIC Number: ED332824
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Infant Pointing: Prelinguistic Reference and Co-Reference.
Franco, Fabia; Butterworth, George
Four experiments investigating the effects of physical and social variables on the production of pointing in infants 10 to 18 months old are described. In the first two experiments, which were primarily concerned with the relation between reaching and index finger pointing, physical dimensions such as distance between baby and target objects were manipulated. Vocalization and the social communicative intentions of the pointing babies were measured. The third and fourth experiments concerned the role of the social context on the production of the pointing gesture. The third experiment compared the incidence of pointing in the presence and the absence of the mother in order to determine whether production of the gesture by the infant implies a recipient of the message. The fourth experiment compared the incidence of pointing in babies when the mother was the partner with the incidence of pointing when another infant was present. Results supported the view that pointing is, from its inception, a form of shared reference. An intrinsically social gesture, it is associated with visual checking with the social partner. It is used in infant-to-infant interaction and is not produced if there is no one around. Findings are discussed in terms of an early capacity of sharing reference and certain aspects of social understanding shown by infants. (RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Gaze Patterns; Pointing Behavior; Reaching Behavior; Referential Communication; Scotland
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Seattle, WA, April 18-20, 1991).