Showing and giving : from incipient to conventional forms
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Understanding humans' motivation and capacity for social interaction requires understanding communicative gestures. Gestures are one of the earliest means that infants employ to communicate with others, and showing and giving are among the earliest-emerging gestures. However, there are limited data on the processes that lead up to the emergence of conventional showing and giving gestures. This study aimed to provide such data. Twenty-five infants were assessed longitudinally at monthly intervals from 6 to 10 months of age using a variety of methods (elicitation procedures, free play observations and maternal interviews), as well as via questionnaires conducted at 11–12 months. A particular focus was on pre-conventional, incipient gestures, behaviours that involved some components of conventional gestures, but lacked other important components. We present observational evidence that at least some of these behaviours (observed as early as 7 months of age) were communicative and make the case for how conventional showing and giving may emerge gradually in the context of social interactions. We also discuss the influence of maternal interpretations of these early behaviours on their development. Overall, the study seeks to draw attention to the importance of understanding the cognitive, motor and interactional processes that lead to the emergence of infants’ earliest communicative gestures.
Salter , G & Carpenter , M 2022 , ' Showing and giving : from incipient to conventional forms ' , Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences , vol. 377 , no. 1859 , 20210102 . https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2021.0102
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Copyright © 2022 The Authors. Open Access. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
DescriptionFunding: This study was supported by the University of St Andrews (PhD Scholarship).
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