Language and Cognition Department, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
 by Daniel Haun

Direct Attention and Pointing in Infants: A Cross-Cultural Approach

Recent research suggests that 12-month-old infants in German cultural settings have the motive of sharing their attention to and interest in various events with a social interlocutor. To do so, these preverbal infants predominantly use the pointing gesture (in this case the extended arm with or without extended index finger) as a means to direct another person’s attention. This task systematically investigates different types of motives underlying infants’ pointing. The occurrence of a protodeclarative (as opposed to protoimperative) motive is of particular interest because it requires an understanding of the recipient’s psychological states, such as attention and interest, that can be directed and accessed.

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Directing Attention And Pointing In Infants (60.87 kB)
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Citation
Liszkowski, Ulf & Pattie Epps. 2003. Directing attention and pointing in infants: a cross-cultural approach. In N.J. Enfield (ed.), Field Research Manual 2003, part I: multimodal interaction, Space, event representation, 25-27. Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.
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http://fieldmanuals.mpi.nl/volumes/2003-1/direct-attention-and-pointing-in-infants/