Young children create iconic gestures to inform others.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Much is known about young children's use of deictic gestures such as pointing. Much less is known about their use of other types of communicative gestures, especially iconic or symbolic gestures. In particular, it is unknown whether children can create iconic gestures on the spot to inform others. Study 1 provided 27-month-olds with the opportunity to inform a novice how to perform a task. The majority of children created appropriate iconic gestures, and they did so significantly more than in a control condition in which the need to inform someone was removed. In Study 2, some of the 21-month-olds tested also created novel iconic gestures but to a lesser extent. Results are discussed in relation to children's symbolic, linguistic, and social-cognitive development.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Behne, T; Carpenter, M; Tomasello, M

Published Date

  • August 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 50 / 8

Start / End Page

  • 2049 - 2060

PubMed ID

  • 24979473

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1939-0599

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0012-1649

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037/a0037224


  • eng