Joint Attention and the Notion of Subject: Insights from Apes, Normal Children, and Children with Autism

In Naomi Eilan, Christoph Hoerl, Teresa McCormack & Johannes Roessler (eds.), Joint Attention: Communication and Other Minds. Issues in Philosophy and Psychology. Oxford University Press (2005)
Abstract
This chapter proposes that the cognitive mechanisms of joint attention (defined as a combination of attention following skills with attention contact skills) are not metarepresentational in nature, but based upon the coordination of two different types of intentional understanding — third-person and second-person intentions — that are represented at the level of a sensorimotor notion of others as subjects. This proposal is developed and analyzed from a comparative perspective through a review of findings concerning apes, typically developing children, and children with autism. It is argued that each of these populations illustrates a different type of joint attention system based upon different notions of the other as a subject.
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