One of the first ways that babies communicate with the world around them is by gesturing. New research has found that the amount of gestures a baby makes is directly linked to a baby’s future vocabulary.
According to U.S. News & World Report, the new research not only connects gestures with an increased language development, but also suggests that the income levels and education of the parents influence how much gesturing a baby does.
The study found that babies from higher socioeconomic levels gestured more and had a larger vocabulary at age 4 and a half compared with the other children in the study.
Researchers looked at the level of gesturing in babies at 14 months and then looked at the vocabulary level of these children at age 4 and a half. At 14 months, children from higher income households gestured about 24 times during a 90 minute session compared to only 13 gestures from kids in lower income households during the same time frame. Later, when the kids were evaluated again at 4 and a half, the vocabulary level of the children from higher income homes had a score of 117 for vocabulary, compared to only 93 in the lower income group.