Volume 17, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1568-1475
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9773
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Infants can extend their index fingers soon after birth, yet pointing gestures do not emerge until about 10 to 12 months. In the present study, we draw on the process-relational view, according to which pointing develops as infants learn how others respond to their initially non-communicative index finger use. We report on a longitudinal maternal diary study of 15 infants and describe four types of index finger use in the first year. Analysis of the observations suggests one possible developmental pathway: index finger extension becomes linked to infants’ attention around 7 to 9 months of age with the emergence of fingertip exploration and index finger extension towards out-of-reach objects infants wish to explore. Through parental responses infants begin to use index finger touch to refer in some situations, including asking and answering questions and to request, suggesting that some functions of pointing might originate in early index finger use.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): diary methodology; gesture; infancy; pointing; preverbal communication
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