The present longitudinal diary study investigated the development of early functions of pointing within everyday routines in infants between 5 and 22 months of age. Pointing has been studied extensively and there are several theories on how this gesture develops. Most current studies on pointing involve experimental settings and infants who have already mastered communicative pointing. Building on the relational view and, more specifically, the importance of infants’ involvement in everyday routines, the present study analyzed diary observations recorded by parents within everyday routines, focusing on the longitudinal changes in infants’ early pointing behaviour. Results are interpreted in terms of historically important findings and theories on the origins and development of pointing. Findings indicate a tendency to use the index finger for tactile exploration and in imitation, as well as a tendency to point with the whole hand, before infants become aware of the social function of their raised arm and index finger. In addition, results suggest that different functions of pointing might emerge along different developmental pathways.
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Thesis advisor: Carpendale, Jeremy
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