Language-at all times: action and interaction as contexts for enriching representations

Iris Nomikou, Malte Schilling, Vivien Heller, Katharina Rohlfing

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This article discusses the importance of social interaction for the development of the representations for symbolic communication. We suggest that there is no need to distinguish between different representational systems emerging at different stages of development. Instead, we propose that representations are rich right from the beginning of a child’s life, and that they are driven mainly by acting and interacting in the physical and social world. The more variety in a child’s interactional experience (i.e., synchrony, sequentiality, and prediction), the more enriched and abstracted the representations become. We review literature providing evidence for the ways in which infants’ development toward symbolic communication benefits from repeated social (inter)action and consider some implications for computational approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-153
JournalInteraction Studies
Issue number1
Early online date26 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016


  • interaction
  • language acquisition
  • rich representation
  • sequentiality
  • contingency
  • synchrony


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