Children’s Interpretation and Understanding of Representational Gesture Movements and Goals
Villarreal, Julia N.
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People of all ages and cultures experience and or create gestures practically daily. Gestures are movements used to express ideas, concepts, objects et. cetera, to other individuals. Though, it is unclear how children begin to understand a gesture created by another person, and whether the presence of objects influences a child's ability to understand goals of representational gestures. In order to determine children’s representational capabilities and ability to interpret gestures more easily if objects are present, children between 4 to12 years old ( N = 501) were recruited and randomly assigned to one of three video conditions: Action on Objects, Action Off Objects with Objects Present, or Actions without Objects Present. After completion of the video, children were asked five questions regarding what occurred in their condition. For the purposes of this study, only the representational goal responses were coded and further analyzed. From the data collected, the Action on Object video yielded significant external goal responses (x = 89.7%). Representational goal responses were recorded for both the Action Off of Objects with Objects Present and Actions without Objects Present conditions; however, there were no significant differences among the conditions. Overall, replications of this study may be created in order to continue the research of child comprehension of representational gesture and its possible benefits in educational settings. Additional implications and future directions of this study are further discussed in the general discussion section.