Gesture as a window on children's beginning understanding of false belief

Stephanie M. Carlson, Antoinette Wong, Margaret Lemke, Caron Cosser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Given that gestures may provide access to transitions in cognitive development, preschoolers' performance on standard tasks was compared with their performance on a new gesture false belief task. Experiment 1 confirmed that children (N = 45, M age = 54 months) responded consistently on two gesture tasks and that there is dramatic improvement on both the gesture false belief task and a standard task from ages 3 to 5. In 2 subsequent experiments focusing on children in transition with respect to understanding false beliefs (Ns = 34 and 70, M age = 48 months), there was a significant advantage of gesture over standard and novel verbal-response tasks. Iconic gesture may facilitate reasoning about opaque mental states in children who are rapidly developing concepts of mind.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-86
Number of pages14
JournalChild development
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

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