Joint Attention in Preschool Children: Is it a Meaningful Measure?

  • Sullivan L
  • Mundy P
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The goal of this study was to evaluate the degree to which measuring joint attention an aspect of social attention, is meaningful for the learning and development of preschool children. Joint attention refers to the executive capacity to coordinate visual attention with another person. This pivotal skill begins to develop from 6 to 18 months of age and continues to be refined and coordinated throughout individual developmental trajectories. In this study joint attention was measured in forty-three 4 to 5-year-olds asked to coordinate their attention with that of an unfamiliar adult during a social attention word learning task. The results revealed that there were individual differences in joint attention for children in this age group which suggests that this may be a meaningful construct to measure. These data contribute to a small but growing literature on the potential utility of joint attention theory and measurement in preschool aged children to further our understanding of social attention coordination in classroom contexts.




Sullivan, L., & Mundy, P. (2016). Joint Attention in Preschool Children: Is it a Meaningful Measure? International Journal of School and Cognitive Psychology, 2(2).

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