Joint Attention: Its Origins and Role in Development

Joint Attention
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Delgado, C. Responding to joint attention and language development: A comparison of target locations. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 45, — Desrochers, S. Two perspectives on pointing in infancy. Moore Eds. Fasolo, M. Comunicazione gestuale nei bambini con sviluppo del linguaggio rallentato: una ricerca longitudinale.

Psicologia Clinica dello Sviluppo, 1, — Markus, J.

2 editions of this work

Individual difference in infant skill as predictors of child—caregiver joint attention and language. Social Development, 9, — Morales, M. Responding to joint attention across the 6- through month age period and early language acquisition. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 21, — Mundy, P. Individual differences in joint attention skill development in the second year. Infant Behavior and Development, 21, — EEG coherence, joint attention and language development in the second year.

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Hillsdale, NJ, US: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Previously established dyadic (infant–other) interactional structures are gradually transformed into a triadic (infant–object–other) social system. Hillsdale, NJ, US: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc Joint attention: Its origins. It is perhaps no exaggeration to suggest that all of what is intrinsically human experience is grounded in its shared nature. Joint attention to.

Developmental Science, 6, 48— Perucchini, P. Rowe, M. Differences in early gesture explain SES disparities in child vocabulary size at school entry.

Joint Attention: Its Origins and Role in Development

Science, , — Search strategy: "The search method involved inspection of digital databases Web of Knowledge, Picarta, PsychInfo using the following keywords: pointing, gesture, declarative, imperative, precursors, language, words, vocabulary, infancy, intentional communication, and joint attention. Inspection of the reference section of relevant literature was an additional search method ancestry method. Additionally, also unpublished sources were consulted, such as dissertations and presentations and studies under revision, by using Google Scholar, contacting researchers in the field and consulting digital databases of dissertations e.

Exclusion criteria were: a subjects with mental or developmental disorders; b children older than 60 months; c studies in which the pointing gesture was not coded separately from other gestures.

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Pointing and vocabulary longitudinal Colonnesi et al. While RJA may reflect relatively involuntary orienting in response to social cues, IJA may index more voluntary sharing of experiences. Interestingly, gaze alternation was associated with speed of attention disengagement, indicating contributions of non-social attention to IJA in ASD.

RJA is easier to assess than IJA because it involves presenting a stimuli rather than observing child-initiated behaviours. However, IJA is not uniquely human [ 3 ].

Joint attention is often assessed in a laboratory using structured observational measures designed for children up to around 30 months of developmental level. Ideally, joint attention would be assessed in multiple settings. In one of the most commonly used assessments of joint attention,the Early Social Communication Scales ESCS , IJA is coded into mutually exclusive categories: gestural indication or gaze alternation [ 17 ]. Little research focuses on RJA proximal. Congruent with the finding that children with ASD may have particular difficulty responding to sparser cues [ 8 ] , other measures include varying combinations of cues.

Opportunities for RJA are presented within a hierarchy of increasing prompts.

Parent-checklists or a combination of parent-report and direct observation are also used. Researchers recently developed age-appropriate measures of joint attention for older individuals.

A measure of RJA appropriate for children and adolescents from 7 to 17 years of age uses six naturalistic prompts [ 20 ]. Retrospective video analyses revealing that decreased dyadic behavioursin the first year of life preceded reduced joint attention in the second year in autism suggest that less attention to people in infancy may be a precursor of reduced joint attention [ 21 ]. However, reduced IJA between 6 and 12 months of age in ASD with no dyadic atypicalities has also been documented [ 22 ].

Indeed, dyadic atypicalities during live interaction have not been observed in the first year of life in prospective studies of the infant siblings of children with autism. Six-month-old infants with ASD exhibited marginally significantly more attention to a face relative to typically developing infants followed by reduced RJA and gestural indication, but not gaze alternation, at 12 months7. Infant siblings who exhibited severe enough symptoms to be diagnosed with ASD at 14 months showed reduced RJA, gaze alternation and gestures at 14 months [ 6 ]. Infants who were diagnosed later with ASD only differed in gaze alternation at 14 months. Gaze alternation also discriminated between children with ASD, intellectually disabled and typically developing children better than other joint attention measures, though gestural indication and RJA were also impaired among the children with ASD [ 23 ].

Despite the absence of documented predictive relations between dyadic interactions and later joint attention, concurrent associations between the two have been observed. Three-to-four-year olds with autism oriented less to social and non-social stimuli particularly social and exhibited decreased concurrent IJA and RJA [ 4 ]. These studies suggest that dyadic atypicalities may contribute to reduced joint attention.

However, predictive relations between social orienting and joint attention have not been documented in ASD and joint attention impairments occur in the absence of dyadic impairments [ 5 , 23 ]. Verbal and cognitive skills may also influence joint attention, particularly RJA.

Two Perspectives on Pointing in Infancy - Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB)

Reduced RJA may not be observed among children with ASD who have a non-verbal mental age above 19 months, a verbal mental age above 47 months or a non-verbal IQ in the normal range [ 26 , 27 , 28 ]. Leekamand colleagues [ 28 ] suggest that the absence of RJA deficits in children with higher verbal skills might be evidence of bidirectional relations between joint attention and language in ASD. This circumscribed developmental period within which RJA deficits may be apparent in ASD contrasts with the difficulty even high-functioning people on the spectrum have initiating joint attention [ 13 , 14 ].

Despite changes in joint attention with development, assertions that only IJA remains a difficulty across the lifespan in autism may be attributable to the fact that most assessments of joint attention were designed for toddlers. Not only is joint attention concurrently related to other domains, it is also predictive of development. Gaze alternation at 2 years was associated with social symptoms at 4 years among children with ASD [ 30 ].

Social-cognitive researchers expect joint attention to be associated with subsequent theory of mind in autism because it has been associated with theory of mind in typical development [ 10 ]. However, prospective relations between joint attention and theory of mind in ASD have yet to be established.

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IJA in early childhood was associated with later peer engagement. RJA in early childhood was associated with adult social functioning, social symptoms and non-verbal communication [ 11 ]. Associations between RJA and adult outcomes often appeared to be due to relations between RJA and changes in language and cognitive skills. This is consistent with a view of joint attention as a pivotal skill for learning other skills [ 30 ].

Joint Attention: Its Origin and Role in Development

Joint attention may be particularly important for acquiring relevant social cues to map words to objects [ 1 ]. Among children with ASD, RJA at [ 14 ] months was associated with language and cognitive skills between 30 and 36 months of age while gaze alternation at 20 months was associated with vocabulary at 42 months [ 8 , 30 ].

However, RJA but not IJA at approximately 4 years of age was associated with expressive language approximately 8 years later. Predictive associations between gestural indication and syntactic development have also been observed among school-age children with ASD [ 31 ]. Future research should assess joint attention and a range of outcomes at multiple points across development to examine potential bidirectional associations.

Given strong associations between joint attention and language, it is important to control for linguistic ability when relating joint attention to other domains. Potential mechanisms underlying atypical joint attention in autism include: atypical reflexive gaze following [ 32 ] , but see [ 33 ] , impaired integration of joint attention and affect [ 34 ] , decreased recognition of the referential significance of gaze [ 35 ] , decreased social motivation and recognition of the reward value of social interaction [ 4 , 36 ] or atypicalities of non-social attention [ 37 ].

Recent evidence suggests that reflexive gaze following may contribute to RJA impairments in ASD while understanding of referential intent is more likely tied to developmental level [ 38 ]. As discussed, there is mixed evidence that decreased social motivation in infancy leads to joint attention impairments. While dyadic orienting has been concurrently related to both RJA and IJA [ 25 , 26 ] , deficits in joint attention are often not preceded by dyadic difficulties [ 7 , 22 ]. Indeed, it is possible that dyadic difficulties are concurrently associated with joint attention impairments because joint attention impairments lead to dyadic difficulties rather than the reverse.

Social behaviours typically become increasingly object-centred around 1 year of age. Difficulty with triadic representation could reduce opportunities for social learning and lead to dyadic difficulties. The absence of strong evidence for predictive relations between dyadic skills in infancy and joint attention is more consistent with the PDP model than the social-cognitive theory of joint attention.

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Both social and non-social orienting is impaired in ASD [ 4 ]. A non-social measure of attention, disengagement latency, was associated with IJA [ 15 ]. Among typically developing infants, visual attention is related to subsequent IQ and language skills [ 39 ]. Future research should assess non-social aspects of attention and joint attention at multiple points across development, as well as measures of social-cognition, in order to determine if there are developmental relations between non-social attention and joint attention, and the relative contributions of each to subsequent development.

Future research should assess reward sensitivity and joint attention from infancy into early childhood in order to determine if reward sensitivity contributes differentially to the development of RJA and IJA. While neuro imaging research in typical development suggests that IJA may be more strongly associated with regions of the brain subserving reward processing [ 40 ] , an executive function measure believed to index reward processing was associated with a composite measure of both IJA and RJA among children with ASD [ 36 ].

The lack of strong evidence that dyadic atypicalities precede triadic ones is less consistent with the social-cognitive model than the PDP model of joint attention. Because joint attention provides a tool for learning from others, change in joint attention across time may be as informative as joint attention at specific points in time. Change implies that something is influencing change.