Chapter 12. Is there an iconic gesture spurt at 26 months?
Previous research has shown that children understand the iconicity of a gesture at 26 months. Here we ask when children begin to display an appreciation of iconicity in the gestures they produce. We observed spontaneous gesture in 40 children interacting with their parents from 14 to 34 months of age, and found that children increased their production of iconic gestures over time. At 26 months, they not only produced significantly more iconic gestures (tokens) than at any previous time point, but they also conveyed significantly more different meanings with those iconic gestures (types). We found similar increases in the iconic gestures that the children’s parents produced, suggesting that parents either were sensitive to changes in their children’s iconic gestures or perhaps were responsible for those changes. Overall, the results suggest that the 26-month age period is a turning point for children’s grasp of the iconicity of a symbol.
For any use beyond this license, please contact the publisher at