At 10-12 Months, Pointing Gesture Handedness Predicts the Size of Receptive Vocabularies

Katherine H. Mumford, Sotaro Kita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
155 Downloads (Pure)


The close association between language and gesture has been widely studied (McNeill, Psychological Review, 92, 1985, 350). It remains unclear, however, when and how this relationship originates ontogenetically. This study investigated the relationship between vocabulary development and pointing handedness in 10- to 12-month-old infants. The study used cross-sectional data from 16 infants. Infants took part in a pointing elicitation task and a grasping task to assess their pointing and grasping handedness. Further, parents filled out the Oxford Communicative Development Inventory (Hamilton, Plunkett, & Schafer, Journal of Child Language, 27, 2000, 689) to assess infants’ receptive and productive vocabularies. The result showed a positive, significant correlation between receptive vocabulary development and right-handed pointing. This relationship was not due to age or to vocalizations, which have not been ruled out by previous studies. Possible mechanisms behind this codevelopment are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)751–765
Issue number6
Early online date11 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2016


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