Yes and no, or acceptance and refusal, are widespread communicative skills that are common across cultures. Although nodding and shaking the head are common ways to express these seemingly simple responses, these gestures develop later than others such as pointing. We analyzed diary observations from eight infants to investigate the origins of these gestures, why they develop later than other early gestures, and why nodding the head to indicate yes develops later than shaking the head for no. We found that young infants were able to shake their heads side-to-side, but they did not use this movement to communicate refusals at first. Infants had difficulty learning the nodding movement, but they could perform the physical movement before using it to communicate yes. These gestures developed along different trajectories with shaking the head for no emerging between 13 and 15 months and nodding for yes between 16 and 18 months.
2021. 2021 International Symposium on Wearable Computers, ► pp. 135 ff.
Kwon, Alicia Y., Claire D. Vallotton, Mechthild Kiegelmann & Kim Hughes Wilhelm
2018. Cultural diversification of communicative gestures through early childhood: A comparison of children in English-, German-, and Chinese- speaking families. Infant Behavior and Development 50 ► pp. 328 ff.
Lutzenberger, Hannah, Roland Pfau & Connie de Vos
2022. Emergence or Grammaticalization? The Case of Negation in Kata Kolok. Languages 7:1 ► pp. 23 ff.
Nukarinen, Tomi, Jari Kangas, Oleg Špakov, Poika Isokoski, Deepak Akkil, Jussi Rantala & Roope Raisamo
2016. Proceedings of the 9th Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, ► pp. 1 ff.
2018. HeadGesture. Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies 2:4 ► pp. 1 ff.
Špakov, Oleg, Poika Isokoski, Jari Kangas, Jussi Rantala, Deepak Akkil & Roope Raisamo
2016. Proceedings of the 18th ACM International Conference on Multimodal Interaction, ► pp. 289 ff.
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