Twelve-month-olds’ comprehension and production of pointing
Behne, T., Liszkowski, U., Carpenter, M., & Tomasello, M.
Twelve-month-olds’ comprehension and production of pointing. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 30
, 359-375. doi:10.1111/j.2044-835X.2011.02043.x.
This study explored whether infants aged 12 months already recognize the communicative
function of pointing gestures. Infants participated in a task requiring them to
comprehend an adult’s informative pointing gesture to the location of a hidden toy.
They mostly succeeded in this task, which required them to infer that the adult was
attempting to direct their attention to a location for a reason – because she wanted
them to know that a toy was hidden there. Many of the infants also reversed roles and
produced appropriate pointing gestures for the adult in this same game, and indeed there
was a correlation such that comprehenders were for the most part producers. These
findings indicate that by 12 months of age infants are beginning to show a bidirectional
understanding of communicative pointing.