The relationship between joint attention and theory of mind in neurotypical adults

Jordan A. Shaw, Lauren K. Bryant, Bertram F. Malle, Daniel J. Povinelli, John R. Pruett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Joint attention (JA) is hypothesized to have a close relationship with developing theory of mind (ToM) capabilities. We tested the co-occurrence of ToM and JA in social interactions between adults with no reported history of psychiatric illness or neurodevelopmental disorders. Participants engaged in an experimental task that encouraged nonverbal communication, including JA, and also ToM activity. We adapted an in-lab variant of experience sampling methods (Bryant et al., 2013) to measure ToM during JA based on participants’ subjective reports of their thoughts while performing the task. This experiment successfully elicited instances of JA in 17/20 dyads. We compared participants’ thought contents during episodes of JA and non-JA. Our results suggest that, in adults, JA and ToM may occur independently.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-278
Number of pages11
JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Volume51
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2017

Keywords

  • Experience sampling
  • Joint attention
  • Social cognition
  • Theory of mind

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