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Hand Preference in Children’s Referential Gestures During Storytelling: Testing for Effects of Bilingualism, Language Ability, Age, and Sex

Hand Preference in Children’s Referential Gestures During Storytelling: Testing for Effects of... Adults, preschool children, and infants gesture more with their right hand than with their left hand. Since gestures and speech are related in production, it is possible that this right-hand preference reflects left-hemisphere lateralization for gestures and speech. The primary purpose of the present study was to test if children between the ages of 6 and 10 years show a right-hand preference in referential gestures while telling a story. We also tested four predictors of children’s degree of right-hand preference: 1) bilingualism, 2) language proficiency, 3) age, and 4) sex. Previous studies have shown that these variables are related to the degree of speech lateralization. Twenty-five English monolingual (17 girls; Mage = 8.0, SDage = 1.4), 21 French monolingual (12 girls; Mage = 7.3, SDage = 1.4,) and 25 French-English bilingual (11 girls; Mage = 8.5, SDage = 1.4) children watched a cartoon and told the story back. The bilinguals did this once in each language. The referential gestures were coded for handedness. Most of the participants showed a right-hand preference for gesturing. In English, none of the predictor variables was clearly related to right-hand preference. In French, the monolinguals showed a stronger right-hand preference than the bilinguals. These inconsistent findings across languages raise doubts as to whether the right-hand preference is linked to lateralization for speech. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Developmental Science IOS Press

Hand Preference in Children’s Referential Gestures During Storytelling: Testing for Effects of Bilingualism, Language Ability, Age, and Sex

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Publisher
IOS Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2022 © 2022 – IOS Press. All rights reserved
ISSN
2192-001X
DOI
10.3233/dev-199467
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Adults, preschool children, and infants gesture more with their right hand than with their left hand. Since gestures and speech are related in production, it is possible that this right-hand preference reflects left-hemisphere lateralization for gestures and speech. The primary purpose of the present study was to test if children between the ages of 6 and 10 years show a right-hand preference in referential gestures while telling a story. We also tested four predictors of children’s degree of right-hand preference: 1) bilingualism, 2) language proficiency, 3) age, and 4) sex. Previous studies have shown that these variables are related to the degree of speech lateralization. Twenty-five English monolingual (17 girls; Mage = 8.0, SDage = 1.4), 21 French monolingual (12 girls; Mage = 7.3, SDage = 1.4,) and 25 French-English bilingual (11 girls; Mage = 8.5, SDage = 1.4) children watched a cartoon and told the story back. The bilinguals did this once in each language. The referential gestures were coded for handedness. Most of the participants showed a right-hand preference for gesturing. In English, none of the predictor variables was clearly related to right-hand preference. In French, the monolinguals showed a stronger right-hand preference than the bilinguals. These inconsistent findings across languages raise doubts as to whether the right-hand preference is linked to lateralization for speech.

Journal

International Journal of Developmental ScienceIOS Press

Published: Jul 13, 2022

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