According to a study published in the February 13th issue of Science Magazine, researchers found that the babies of parents with higher education levels and income had both higher use of gesture and higher baby-gesture1vocabulary.  While its not clear if the chicken or egg comes first in this case, the established link between these three things (socioeconomic status, vocabulary, gesture use) is an important step toward future research.  The story, linked here from US News and World Reports suggests that the next step may be trying to determine if increasing gestures in babies may lead to later vocabulary growth.  One element that may also contribute to this link is motivation – a child who is more motivated to communicate in general may be likely to use whatever means necessary, whether gesture or language.  Gesture is also often an important foundation for oral language, as children not motivated to speak frequently need the motivation to communicate that pointing and other gestures can provide.

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