In an interview with Futurity, Emily Sumner, the study's lead author and a doctoral candidate in cognitive sciences at the University of California, Irvine, said the differences between verbal and nonverbal answers was likely related to children's working memory. "When a child is pointing, they can see the options and choose their actual preference," Sumner told Futurity. "When they have no visual references and only hear 'or,' they're able to hold onto the most recently mentioned option by depending on the phonological loop."

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