ERIC Number: ED197617
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1980-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
The Development of Communicative Gestures in Mother-Infant Interactions. Papers and Reports on Child Language Development, Number 19.
Masur, Elise Frank
The use of gestures by four infants was recorded as they interacted with their mothers. Waving, extending objects, and headshaking generally achieved a threshold of at least 10 instances within one month of acquisition. Both waving and headshaking were often first used in imitative and game routines with the mother before they became communicative. Mothers exhibited a high rate of response to the children's performative gestures, the response often consisting of the appropriate performative word. Of the three object-related gestures observed, extending objects and open-handed reaching were not imitative, though they always occurred as responses to maternal behavior, while pointing developed initially as a spontaneous rather than a responsive gesture. These last three gestures became communicative later than the others, apparently because the former require coordination of two actions, directed at the mother and at the object. The infants did not use conventional words with gestures until after they had demonstrated this ability to coordinate two nonverbal signals. An analysis of maternal responses indicated a sensitivity to developmental phases of communicative gesturing; in addition, the responses facilitated the children's transition from gestural to verbal communication. (JB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Stanford Univ., CA. Dept. of Linguistics.