Early functions of the private pointing gesture: Contemplation and self-regulation

Begoña Delgado, Juan Carlos Gómez, Encarnación Sarriá


This work presents an empirical exploration of the private uses of the pointing gesture in infants. Based upon our previous research on the analogy between the private use of language and the private use of pointing gestures, we explore the possibility that infant pointing gestures have private or intrapersonal functions associated to the organization of the infants' own action. Additionally, and based upon previous research about early communication, we explore the possibility that infant pointing gestures support cognitive processes associated to the private contemplation of the objects. Both hypotheses were explored in an observational study, where four independent observers coded 120 examples of infant pointing gestures (observed in two infants between 8 and 24 months of age). Based upon these observational data and our previous research about the private use of pointing by older children, two main private functions of infant pointing gesture are proposed: self-regulatory and contemplative.


Self-regulation; infancy; communication; pointing

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5944/ap.7.2.215


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