BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Infants learn what they want to learn: responding to infant pointing leads to superior learning

    Begus, Katarina and Gliga, Teodora and Southgate, Victoria (2014) Infants learn what they want to learn: responding to infant pointing leads to superior learning. PLoS One 9 (10), e108817. ISSN 1932-6203.

    10671.pdf - Published Version of Record
    Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

    Download (429kB) | Preview


    The majority of current developmental models prioritise a pedagogical approach to knowledge acquisition in infancy, in which infants play a relatively passive role as recipients of information. In view of recent evidence, demonstrating that infants use pointing to express interest and solicit information from adults, we set out to test whether giving the child the leading role in deciding what information to receive leads to better learning. Sixteen-month-olds were introduced to pairs of novel objects and, once they had pointed to an object, were shown a function for either the object they had chosen, or the object they had ignored. Ten minutes later, infants replicated the functions of chosen objects significantly more than those of un-chosen objects, despite having been equally visually attentive during demonstrations on both types of objects. These results show that offering information in response to infants’ communicative gestures leads to superior learning (Experiment 1) and that this difference in performance is due to learning being facilitated when infants’ pointing was responded to, not hindered when their pointing was ignored (Experiment 2), highlighting the importance of infants’ own active engagement in acquiring information.


    Item Type: Article
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2014 10:23
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:13


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item