Do referential problem spaces affect the frequency of imperative pointing by infants?

Open access

Abstract

Before speaking language, infants produce pointing gestures. To elucidate the mechanism promoting imperative pointing by infants, we investigated whether referential problem spaces, which are eco-cultural contexts in which subjects are reliant on others to obtain desirable but unreachable objects, affect the parental awareness of the frequency of imperative pointing by infants. Through a survey questionnaire, we asked parents of infants aged 8-30 months about the kinds of objects they place away from their infants and the frequency of their infants’ imperative pointing. The results show that parents who mentioned placing tiny objects or objects mainly used by adults or older children away from their infants reported higher frequencies of imperative pointing by their infants than those who did not. This suggests that the frequency of infants’ imperative pointing is increased by referential problem spaces, which are constructed by placing tiny objects or objects mainly used by adults or older children away from the infants.

Bates, E., Camaioni, L., & Volterra, V. (1975). The acquisition of performatives prior to speech. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 21(3), 205-226.

Butterworth, G. (2003). Pointing is the royal road to language for babies. In S. Kita (Ed.), Pointing: Where Language, Culture, and Cognition Meet (pp. 9-33). Mahwah: Erlbaum.

Camaioni, L., Castelli, M.C., Longobardi, E., & Volterra, V. (1991). A parent report instrument for early language assessment. First Language, 11(33), 345-359.

Camaioni, L., Perucchini, P., Bellagamba, F., & Colonnesi, C. (2004). The role of declarative pointing in developing a theory of mind. Infancy, 5(3), 299-308.

Carpenter, M., Nagell, K., & Tomasello, M. (1998). Social cognition, joint attention, and communicative competence from 9 to 15 months of age. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 63(4), 1-174.

Cochet, H., Jover, M., & Vauclair, J. (2011). Hand preference for pointing gestures and bimanual manipulation around the vocabulary spurt period. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 110(3), 393-407.

DeScioli, P. & Kurzban, R. (2009). The alliance hypothesis for human friendship. PLoS ONE, 4(6), e5802.

Fleiss J., Levin, B., & Paik, M. (2003). Statistical Methods for Rates and Proportions (3rd ed.). Hoboken: Wiley & Sons.

Franco, F. (2005). Infant pointing: Harlequin, servant of two masters. In N. Eilan, C. Hoerl, T. McCormack, & J. Roessler (Eds.), Joint Attention: Communication and Other Minds. Problems in Philosophy and Psychology (pp. 129-164). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Grosse, G., Behne, T., Carpenter, M., & Tomasello, M. (2010). Infants communicate in order to be understood. Developmental Psychology, 46 (6), 1710-1722.

Kishimoto, T. (2011). Does infants’ locomotive development affect parental awareness of pointing gestures by infants? Journal of Human Environmental Studies, 9(2), 77-82.

Leavens, D.A. & Bard, K.A. (2011). Environmental influences on joint attention in great apes: Implications for human cognition. Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology, 10(1), 9-31.

Leavens, D.A., Hopkins, W.D., & Bard, K.A. (1996). Indexical and referential pointing in chimpanzees (pan troglodytes). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 110(4), 346-353.

Leavens, D.A., Hopkins, W.D., & Bard, K.A. (2005). Understanding the point of chimpanzee pointing: Epigenesis and ecological validity. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14(4), 185-189.

Leung, E.H.L., & Rheingold, H.L. (1981). Development of pointing as a social gesture. Developmental Psychology, 17(2), 215-220.

Liszkowski, U., Brown, P., Callaghan, T., Takada, A., & De Vos, C. (2012). A prelinguistic gestural universal of human communication. Cognitive Science, 36(4), 698-713.

Liszkowski, U., Carpenter, M., Henning, A., Striano, T., & Tomasello, M. (2004). Twelve-month-olds point to share attention and interest. Developmental Science, 7(3), 9297-9307.

Liszkowski, U. & Tomasello, M. (2011). Individual differences in social, cognitive, and morphological aspects of infant pointing. Cognitive Development, 26, 16-29.

Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (2012). 2011 Survey on Time Use and Leisure Activities > Questionaire A > Results on Time Use > Time Use for Prefecture, Table No 2; Tokyo-to. Statistics Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, September 26th, 2012. Retrieved 7.12.2013 from: http://www.e-stat.go.jp/SG1/estat/ListE.do?bid=000001040667&cycode=0.

Tomasello, M. (2006). Why don’t apes point? In N. Enfield & S. Levinson (Eds.), Roots of Human Sociality: Culture, Cognition and Interaction (pp. 506-524). New York: Berg.

Journal Information


CiteScore 2016: 0.24

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.200
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.380

Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 33 33 10
PDF Downloads 6 6 1