Pointing gestures as a cognitive tool in young children: Experimental evidence

Begoña Delgado, Juan-Carlos Gomez, Encarnación Sarriá

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the possible cognitive function associated with pointing gestures from a Vygotskian perspective. In Study 1, 39 children who were 2–4 years of age were observed in a solitary condition while solving a mnemonic task with or without an explicit memory demand. A discriminant analysis showed that children used noncommunicative pointing gestures only in the task with an explicit memory demand. In Study 2, 39 children who were 4–6 years of age completed an attentional task with and without the possibility of pointing. An analysis of variance showed that only those children who spontaneously pointed to solve the first task performed significantly worse in a second condition where pointing was impossible. These results suggest that besides its social interactive functions, pointing may also subserve private cognitive functions for children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-312
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


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