Language and Cognition Department, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics
 by Ewelina Wnuk

Infant Pointing (9-15 Months) in Different Cultures

There are two tasks for conducting systematic observation of child-caregiver joint attention interactions. Task 1 – a “decorated room” designed to elicit infant and caregiver pointing. Task 2 – videotaped interviews about infant pointing behaviour. The goal of this task is to document the ontogenetic emergence of referential communication in caregiver infant interaction in different cultures, during the critical age of 8-15 months when children come to understand and share others’ intentions. This is of interest to all students of interaction and human communication; it does not require specialist knowledge of children.


Please contact Ulf Liszkowski if you intend to participate or contribute to this project.

  • Stimuli: A set of 19 objects, to be used in decorating a room with objects designed to elicit pointing.
  • Preparations before running the task(s): Before running these tasks, you will need to work out exactly what the verbal instructions will be in the local language. And you will need to set up the ‘decorated room’ in line with the instructions below. It is advisable to have a supply of small toys as presents for the infant at the end of the task. Then you need to identify people in your research community with babies in the 8 to 15 month age range.


This Field Manual entry can be downloaded from the MPG Publication Repository:

How to cite this resource?

Liszkowski, U., & Brown, P. (2007). Infant pointing (9-15 months) in different cultures. In A. Majid (Ed.), Field Manual Volume 10 (pp. 82-88). Nijmegen: Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. doi:10.17617/2.492895.