Children's use of gestural and verbal behavior in communicative misunderstandings

M. Jeanne Wilcox, Paula Howse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This inquiry examined strategies used by young children when receiver feedback indicated that their gestural communicative attempts were not understood. The children were grouped according to their vocabulary sizes and number of coding rules for two-word utterances. The results indicated that the children, although capable of semantically equivalent verbal behavior, tended to persist in the use of a gesture when experiencing communicative failure. The gestural persistance was not found to be related to the children's lexical or syntactic abilities. It was concluded that the children may not have realized that a verbal behavior can serve as a replacement or an adjunct to a gestural communication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-27
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Psycholinguistics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1982
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • General Psychology


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