Volume 14, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1568-1475
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9773
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


Around the age of nine months, children start to communicate by using first words and gestures, during interactions with caregivers. The question remains as to how older preschool children utilise the gestures they observe into their own gestural representations of previously unseen objects. Two accounts of gesture production (the ‘gesture learning’, and ‘simulated representation’ accounts) offer different predictions for how preschool children use the gestures they observe when describing objects. To test these two competing accounts underlying gesture production, we showed 42 children (mean age: 45 months 14 days) four novel objects using speech only, or speech accompanied by either movement or physical feature gestures. Analyses revealed that (a) overall symbolic gesture production showed a high degree of individual variability, and (b) distinct observed gesture types influenced the children’s subsequent gesture use. Specifically, it was found that children preferred to match movement gestures in a subsequent communicative interaction including the same objects, but not physical feature gestures. We conclude that the observation of gestures (in particular gestures that depict movement) may act to change preschool children’s object representations, which in turn influences how they depict objects in space.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): acquisition; action; gestures; human children; representation
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error