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From new Objects to new woRds through GEstures: how sensory-motor experiences of objects and tools influence word acquisition in children

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "FORGE" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: LONDON
postcode: WC1E 6BT
website: n.a.

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Project website
 Total cost 183˙454 €
 EC max contribution 183˙454 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2014
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-EF-ST
 Starting year 2016
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2016-02-01   to  2018-01-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON UK (LONDON) coordinator 183˙454.00


 Project objective

A key question in language studies is how children learn the meaning of new words and corresponding concepts. Developmental studies show that children’s actions promote learning about new objects and that acting on objects is closely related to early gestures’ production, which in turn accompanies vocabulary acquisition. Brain imaging studies have found activation of motor areas when people process action-related words. Together, these findings suggest a link between sensory-motor experiences, gestures and vocabulary acquisition. But how are these related? One hypothesis is that children’s manipulation of objects promotes their learning of concepts, these concepts then drive the use of iconic gestures rooted in actions with objects, as well as word learning. An alternative hypothesis is that iconic gestures scaffold vocabulary learning because gestures maintain important iconic similarity with the corresponding affordances and actions, while having communicative functions like words: thus emergence of gestures would be precursor to word learning. To-date, correlational data seems to support the first hypothesis, but existing data does not allow to clearly establish the direction of effects. The FORGE project aims to test between these hypotheses, to understand how learning new concepts (mental representations for new manipulatable objects), learning to gesture about these new tools and learning their labels are related to one another. The project uses a multi-disciplinary approach, bringing together traditional video-coding techniques from developmental psychology and psycholinguistics, and new bio-engineering sensor technology for movement analysis. As pre-school children learn new words on a daily basis, and because vocabulary is a strong predictor of academic achievement, establishing optimal conditions for learning to occur is critical to any educational setting. It is further critical to implement programmes assisting children with clinical impairments.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2017 Sparaci, L. & Volterra, V.
Hands Shaping Communication: From Gestures to Signs
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI:
The Hand 2019-06-18
2017 Lasorsa, F., Sparaci, L., & Capirci, O.
I gesti nei bambini con disturbo dello spettro autistico
published pages: 109-120, ISSN: , DOI:
Neuropsicologia dell\'età evolutiva 2019-06-18
2017 Di Cesare, G., Sparaci, L., Pelosi, A., Mazzone, L., Giovagnoli, G., Menghini, D., Ruffaldi, E., & Vicari, S.
Differences in action style recognition in children with autism spectrum disorders
published pages: 1456, ISSN: 1664-1078, DOI:
Frontiers in Psychology 8 2019-06-18
2017 Volterra, V., Capirci, O., Caselli, M.C., Rinaldi, P., & Sparaci, L.
Developmental evidence for continuity from action to gesture to sign/word
published pages: 13-42, ISSN: 1879-7865, DOI:
Language, Interaction and Acquisition 8:1 2019-06-18

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The information about "FORGE" are provided by the European Opendata Portal: CORDIS opendata.

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