Infants use shared experience to interpret pointing gestures.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

We investigated whether 1-year-old infants use their shared experience with an adult to determine the meaning of a pointing gesture. In the first study, after two adults had each shared a different activity with the infant, one of the adults pointed to a target object. Eighteen- but not 14-month-olds responded appropriately to the pointing gesture based on the particular activity they had previously shared with that particular adult. In the second study, 14-month-olds were successful in a simpler procedure in which the pointing adult either had or had not shared a relevant activity with the infant prior to the pointing. Infants just beginning to learn language thus already show a complex understanding of the pragmatics of cooperative communication in which shared experience with particular individuals plays a crucial role.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

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

Published Date

  • March 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 12 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 264 - 271

PubMed ID

  • 19143799

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1467-7687

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1363-755X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2008.00758.x


  • eng