Reference and attitude in infant pointing.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

We investigated two main components of infant declarative pointing, reference and attitude, in two experiments with a total of 106 preverbal infants at 1;0. When an experimenter (E) responded to the declarative pointing of these infants by attending to an incorrect referent (with positive attitude), infants repeated pointing within trials to redirect E's attention, showing an understanding of E's reference and active message repair. In contrast, when E identified infants' referent correctly but displayed a disinterested attitude, infants did not repeat pointing within trials and pointed overall in fewer trials, showing an understanding of E's unenthusiastic attitude about the referent. When E attended to infants' intended referent AND shared interest in it, infants were most satisfied, showing no message repair within trials and pointing overall in more trials. These results suggest that by twelve months of age infant declarative pointing is a full communicative act aimed at sharing with others both attention to a referent and a specific attitude about that referent.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Liszkowski, U; Carpenter, M; Tomasello, M

Published Date

  • February 2007

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 34 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 1 - 20

PubMed ID

  • 17340936

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1469-7602

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0305-0009

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1017/s0305000906007689


  • eng