Klarman Fellow Skilton studies language development across cultures
By Kate Blackwood
Pointing, a simple gesture with complex ramifications, is unique to our species, according to linguist Amalia Skilton.
Skilton studies joint attention behaviors – when one person draws someone else’s attention to a third person or object using gestures or demonstrative words, such as “this” or “that” – and she said such behaviors are not seen in other primates.
“It’s seen to some extent in species that have co-evolved with humans, such as dogs, but it really is unique to humans,” said Skilton, a Klarman Fellow in the College of Arts and Sciences.