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Journal Article

A review of psychological studies on development of spontaneous gestures in preschool age

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Sekine, K. (2008). A review of psychological studies on development of spontaneous gestures in preschool age. The Japanese Journal of Educational Psychology, 56(3), 440-453. doi:10.5926/jjep1953.56.3_440.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002C-097B-0
Previous studies of the development of gestures have examined gestures in infants. In recent years, together with the rise of interest in spontaneous gestures accompanied by speech, research on spontaneous gestures in preschool-age children has increased. But little has been reported in terms of systematic developmental changes in children's spontaneous gestures, especially with respect to preschool-age children. The present paper surveys domestic and international research on the development of spontaneous gestures in preschoolers. When gestures seen in infants and preschool-age and older children were categorized, it was found that spontaneous gestures begin to appear together with speech semantically and temporarily by the end of the one-word period; during this same period, gestures that were seen earlier gradually decrease. It is suggested that the development of spontaneous gestures relates to a sentence level, not to a vocabulary level. Based on growth point theory (McNeill, 1992), it is also argued that spontaneous gestures develop with “thinking for speaking” and symbol ability.