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Psychology of Language and Communication

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

Takeshi Kishimoto
Published Online: 2013-12-31 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/plc-2013-0019


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.

Keywords: imperative pointing; referential problem spaces; parents; infant; communication; parent-infant interaction

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About the article

Published Online: 2013-12-31

Published in Print: 2013-12-01

Citation Information: Psychology of Language and Communication, Volume 17, Issue 3, Pages 295–307, ISSN (Print) 1234-2238, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/plc-2013-0019.

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