12-and 18-month-olds point to provide information for others

Ulf Liszkowski*, Malinda Carpenter, Tricia Striano, Michael Tomasello

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

272 Citations (Scopus)


Classically, infants are thought to point for 2 main reasons: (a) They point imperatively when they want an adult to do something for them (e.g., give them something; "Juice!"), and (b) they point declaratively when they want an adult to share attention with them to some interesting event or object ("Look!"). Here we demonstrate the existence of another motive for infants' early pointing gestures: to inform another person of the location of an object that person is searching for. This informative motive for pointing suggests that from very early in ontogeny humans conceive of others as intentional agents with informational states and they have the motivation to provide such information communicatively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-187
JournalJournal of Cognition and Development
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006




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