Co-speech gestures in a naming task: Developmental data
Few studies have explored the development of the gesture-speech system after the two-word stage. Aim of the present study is to examine developmental changes in speech and gesture use, in the context of a simple naming task. Fifty-one children (age range: 2;3-7;6) were divided into five age groups and requested to name pictures representing objects, actions, or characteristics. In the context of a naming task that requires only the production of a single word, children produced pointing and representational gestures together with spoken responses. Pointing was the most frequent gesture produced by all groups of children. Among representational gestures, action gestures were more frequent than size and shape gestures. In addition, gesture production declined as a function of increasing age and spoken lexical competence. Results are discussed in terms of the links between action, gesture, and language, and the ways in which these may change developmentally.