Psychological studies on development of spontaneous gestures in preschoolers: A review

Kazuki Serine*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-453
Number of pages14
JournalJapanese Journal of Educational Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Language development
  • Narrative
  • Preschool-age children
  • Spontaneous gestures
  • Thinking-for-speaking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Psychological studies on development of spontaneous gestures in preschoolers: A review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this