This article examines two issues: the role of gesture in the communication of spatial information and the relation between communication and mental representation. Children (8-10. years) and adults walked through a space to learn the locations of six hidden toy animals and then explained the space to another person. In Study 1, older children and adults typically gestured when describing the space and rarely provided spatial information in speech without also providing the information in gesture. However, few 8-year-olds communicated spatial information in speech or gesture. Studies 2 and 3 showed that 8-year-olds did understand the spatial arrangement of the animals and could communicate spatial information if prompted to use their hands. Taken together, these results indicate that gesture is important for conveying spatial relations at all ages and, as such, provides us with a more complete picture of what children do and do not know about communicating spatial relations.
- Child development
- Spatial cognition
- Spatial representation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology