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Joint Attention

Joint attention refers to the three-way coordination of attention between two or more individuals and an outside focus of attention (e.g., an object, symbol, or event). Importantly, joint attention is more than two individuals focused on the same object—it involves coordinated attention to an entity. Many theorists and researchers have posited and established through studies that the development of joint attention is important to the development of language and cognition, as well as social–emotional development. As such, an understanding of the developmental significance of joint attention is an important foundation in the field of human communication sciences. Though nonhuman primates, such as chimpanzees, have been observed to demonstrate some aspects of joint attention, such as gaze following, the attribution of such gaze to other’s mental ...

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