Publication details [#11727]

Plourde, Vickie and Sylvain Fiset. 2014. Pointing gestures help 2- to 4-year-olds solve, but not understand, invisible displacement problems. Learning and Motivation 46 : 16–26. 11 pp.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
Elsevier Inc


This article concerns a study that has been carried out with the purpose of examining whether pointing gestures can help children between 2-4 years of age solve and understand two different spatial tasks. Two experiments were conducted, the first involving a spatial translation task and the other a spatial rotation task. The children were asked to find in which of three opaque boxes a certain toy was placed, and there were two conditions each time; one including pointing gestures by the adult experimenter towards the correct box and one not including any pointing gestures. Results indicated that pointing really fostered the children's decision in choosing the correct box, even though they exhibited a lack of understanding of how the placement and displacement of the toy took place. Yet it was the pointing gestures, namely their social cognition by means of specific social cues, that led them to the solution of the task.