The Intersection of the Development of Gestures and Intentionality This study examined the development of deictic and representational gestures in 12 typically developing children from 6 to 24 months of age. Gestures were categorized into J. Bruner’s (1981)  3 broad (and 8 specific) communicative functions: behavior regulation (i.e., requesting objects, requesting actions, protesting), joint attention (i.e., commenting, requesting information), ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2004
The Intersection of the Development of Gestures and Intentionality
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Elizabeth Crais
    The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Diane Day Douglas
    Hospital for Sick Children, Washington, DC
  • Cheryl Cox Campbell
    Horn, Richardson, & Associates, Lexington, KY
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: bcrais@med.unc.edu
  • Contact author:e-mail: Elizabeth Crais, PhD, Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, CB #7190, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7190. E-mail: bcrais@med.unc.edu
Article Information
Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2004
The Intersection of the Development of Gestures and Intentionality
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2004, Vol. 47, 678-694. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/052)
History: Received July 22, 2002 , Accepted November 7, 2003
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2004, Vol. 47, 678-694. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/052)
History: Received July 22, 2002; Accepted November 7, 2003
Web of Science® Times Cited: 58

This study examined the development of deictic and representational gestures in 12 typically developing children from 6 to 24 months of age. Gestures were categorized into J. Bruner’s (1981)  3 broad (and 8 specific) communicative functions: behavior regulation (i.e., requesting objects, requesting actions, protesting), joint attention (i.e., commenting, requesting information), and social interaction (i.e., representational gestures, attention seeking, social games). Ongoing parental completion of researcher-created gesture recording forms and monthly researcher observational confirmation were used to capture the emergence and consistent use of targeted gestures. Within each specific functional category, a hierarchy of development was documented for the gestures and behaviors used to signal that intent. This study provides rich detail as to the order of emergence of common deictic and representational gestures and their relationship to other preceding and concomitant behaviors that children use to signal their intentions. Furthermore, the results document younger ages of emergence, in comparison with previous studies, for most of the targeted gestures and provide insight into the controversy in the literature regarding the relative emergence of declarative and imperative gestures.

KEY WORDS: gestures, intentionality, communication development

Acknowledgments
Support for this project was provided through a University of North Carolina Medical School Faculty Grant and Grant H029Q20053 from the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services, U.S. Department of Education.
We thank the children and parents who participated so willingly in this study. We also thank the many research assistants who helped gather and analyze the data. Thanks are also extended to Lauren Nelson from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute for her help with data analysis and to Dawn Laws for the creation of the figures.
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