ERIC Number: EJ774358
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Sep
Reference Count: 0
It's a Sign of the Kind: Gestures and Words Guide Infants' Inductive Inferences
Graham, Susan A.; Kilbreath, Cari S.
Developmental Psychology, v43 n5 p1111-1123 Sep 2007
The role of words and gestures in guiding infants' inductive inferences about nonobvious properties was examined. One hundred seventy-two 14-month-olds and 22-month-olds were presented with novel target objects followed by test objects that varied in similarity to the target. Objects were introduced with a novel word or a novel gesture or with no label. When target and test objects were highly similar in shape, both 14- and 22-month-olds inferred that these objects shared a nonobvious property, regardless of whether the objects were labeled with a word or a gesture or with no label. When objects were labeled with the same word, both 14- and 22-month-olds generalized the nonobvious properties to objects that shared minimal perceptual similarity. Finally, when objects were labeled with the same gesture, 14-month-olds, but not 22-month-olds, generalized the nonobvious properties to objects that shared minimal perceptual similarity. These results indicate that 14-month-olds possess a more generalized symbolic system as they will rely on both words and gestures to guide their inferences. By 22-months of age, infants treat words as a privileged referential form when making inductive inferences.
Descriptors: Inferences, Infants, Logical Thinking, Nonverbal Communication, Verbal Communication, Communication Skills, Age Differences
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
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