Just How Joint Is Joint Action in Infancy?

Topics in Cognitive Science 1 (2):380-392 (2009)
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Joint action is central to countless aspects of human life. Here I examine the roots of joint action in infancy. First, I provide evidence that—contrary to popular belief—1‐year‐old infants do have the social‐cognitive prerequisites needed to participate in joint action, even in a relatively strict sense: they can read others’ goals and intentions, they have some basic understanding of common knowledge, and they have the ability and motivation to help others achieve their goals. Then I review some evidence of infants’ and young children’s active participation in different types of joint action, from prelinguistic communication to more instrumental collaborations with others, with a particular focus on whether young children show evidence of an understanding of the commitments and obligations entailed in joint action. I conclude that the uniquely human ability and motivation to participate in joint action is already seen in infants by 1 year of age.



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Carpenter Malinda
University of St. Andrews

References found in this work

Meaning.Stephen R. Schiffer - 1972 - Oxford,: Clarendon Press.
Shared cooperative activity.Michael E. Bratman - 1992 - Philosophical Review 101 (2):327-341.
Walking Together: A Paradigmatic Social Phenomenon.Margaret Gilbert - 1990 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 15 (1):1-14.

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