This study compares words and gestures produced in a controlled experimental setting by children raised in different linguistic/cultural environments to examine the robustness of gesture use at an early stage of lexical development. Twenty-two Italian and twenty-two Japanese toddlers (age range 25-37 months) performed the same picture-naming task. Italians produced more spoken correct labels than Japanese but a similar amount of representational gestures temporally matched with words. However, Japanese gestures reproduced more closely the action represented in the picture. Results confirm that gestures are linked to motor actions similarly for all children, suggesting a common developmental stage, only minimally influenced by culture.
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