Is Infant Initiation of Joint Attention by Pointing Affected by Type of Interaction?


Dr. Fabia Franco, Middlesex University, ISHR, Queensway, Enfield EN3 4SF, UK. Email:


This article reports the results of two experiments studying the effects of type of interaction on infant production of declarative pointing. In Experiment 1, intensity of social presence was manipulated in adult–infant interaction with 12–19-month-olds (no social presence; adult responding only; adult also initiating joint attentional bids). Experiment 2 extended the analysis to peer interaction in 12–24-month-olds. Pointing was considered in the context of other gestures, vocalizations, and visual checking. The results show that pointing, but not vocalizing, virtually disappeared in the non-social condition, whereas differential effects between the adult-responding and initiating conditions were limited. Joint attentional bids were produced in peer interaction even in the younger age group, although overall the frequency of gestures was lower than that in adult–infant interaction. The results are discussed in the context of the relationship between communication and the infant developing social cognition.