This work was supported by a Pathfinder grant (CALACEI) and a Marie Curie training Grant MEST-CT-2005-020725 from the European Commission.
Infant Pointing: Communication to Cooperate or Communication to Learn?
Version of Record online: 16 MAY 2007
Volume 78, Issue 3, pages 735–740, May/June 2007
How to Cite
Southgate, V., Van Maanen, C. and Csibra, G. (2007), Infant Pointing: Communication to Cooperate or Communication to Learn?. Child Development, 78: 735–740. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2007.01028.x
- Issue online: 1 JUN 2007
- Version of Record online: 16 MAY 2007
Tomasello, Carpenter, and Liszkowski (2007) present compelling data to support the view that infant pointing, from the outset, is communicative and deployed in many of the same situations in which adults would ordinarily point for one another, either to share their interest in something, or to informatively help the other person. This commentary concurs with the view that infant pointing is a communicative gesture, but challenges their interpretation of the motives behind pointing in 12-month-olds. An alternative account is proposed, according to which infant pointing is neither declarative nor imperative, but interrogative, and rather than being driven by the motive to share or help, it may serve a powerful cultural learning mechanism by which infants can obtain information from knowledgeable adults.