This research was supported in part by a research grant from the Economic and Social Research Centre (RES00223355). We thank all of the mothers and children for their enthusiasm and commitment to the project.
To Sign or Not to Sign? The Impact of Encouraging Infants to Gesture on Infant Language and Maternal Mind-Mindedness
Version of Record online: 3 OCT 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Child Development © 2012 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.
Volume 84, Issue 2, pages 574–590, March/April 2013
How to Cite
Kirk, E., Howlett, N., Pine, K. J. and Fletcher, B. (2013), To Sign or Not to Sign? The Impact of Encouraging Infants to Gesture on Infant Language and Maternal Mind-Mindedness. Child Development, 84: 574–590. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2012.01874.x
[Correction added on 10/17/2012, after first online publication 10/3/2012: The fourth author's name has been corrected.]
- Issue online: 18 MAR 2013
- Version of Record online: 3 OCT 2012
- Economic and Social Research Centre. Grant Number: RES00223355
Findings are presented from the first randomized control trial of the effects of encouraging symbolic gesture (or “baby sign”) on infant language, following 40 infants from age 8 months to 20 months. Half of the mothers were trained to model a target set of gestures to their infants. Frequent measures were taken of infant language development and dyadic interactions were scrutinized to assess mind-mindedness. Infants exposed to gesture did not differ from control conditions on language outcomes; thus, no support was found for previous claims that encouraging gesturing with infants accelerates linguistic development. Microgenetic analysis revealed mothers in the gesture training conditions were more responsive to their infants' nonverbal cues and encouraged more independent action by their infant.