The development of gaze following and its relation to language. Developmental Science, 8, 535-543

Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle 98195-7920, USA.
Developmental Science (Impact Factor: 3.89). 12/2005; 8(6):535-43. DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2005.00445.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT We examined the ontogeny of gaze following by testing infants at 9, 10 and 11 months of age. Infants (N = 96) watched as an adult turned her head toward a target with either open or closed eyes. The 10- and 11-month-olds followed adult turns significantly more often in the open-eyes than the closed-eyes condition, but the 9-month-olds did not respond differentially. Although 9-month-olds may view others as 'body orienters', older infants begin to register whether others are 'visually connected' to the external world and, hence, understand adult looking in a new way. Results also showed a strong positive correlation between gaze-following behavior at 10-11 months and subsequent language scores at 18 months. Implications for social cognition are discussed in light of the developmental shift in gaze following between 9 and 11 months of age.

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Available from: Andrew N Meltzoff, Aug 16, 2015
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    • "Research over the last decades has provided abundant evidence that joint attention is a major milestone of infant social cognition (Moore & Dunham, 1995; Scaife & Bruner, 1975; Tomasello & Carpenter, 2007) because it is essential for social development, language acquisition, imitative learning, and social referencing (Baron-Cohen, 1995; Brooks & Meltzoff, 2005; Moore & Dunham, 1995; Sorce, Emde, Campos, & Klinnert, 1985). Research conducted in adults has begun to elucidate the attentional processes and neural mechanisms underlying gaze following and joint attention (Bayliss et al., 2013; Frischen et al., 2007; Lachat, Hugueville, Lemaréchal, Conty, & George, 2012; Redcay, Kleiner, & Saxe, 2012; Schilbach et al., 2010). "
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    ABSTRACT: Guided by distinct theoretical frameworks (the embodiment theories, shared-signal hypothesis, and appraisal theories), we examined the effects of gaze direction and emotional expressions (joy, disgust, and neutral) of virtual characters on attention orienting and affective reactivity of participants while they were engaged in joint attention for food stimuli contrasted by preference (disliked, moderately liked, and liked). The participants were exposed to videos of avatars looking at food and displaying facial expressions with their gaze directed either toward the food only or toward the food and participants consecutively. We recorded eye-tracking responses, heart rate, facial electromyography (zygomatic, corrugator, and levator labii regions), and food wanting/liking. The avatars' joy faces increased the participants' zygomatic reactions and food liking, with mutual eye contact boosting attentional responses. Eye contact also fostered disgust reactions to disliked food, regardless of the avatars' expressions. The findings show that joint attention for food accompanied by face-to-face emotional communication elicits differential attentional and affective responses. The findings appear consistent with the appraisal theories of emotion. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier B.V.
    Biological Psychology 12/2014; 104. DOI:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2014.12.006 · 3.47 Impact Factor
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    • "Communicative behaviors are presented in joint attention episodes between a mother and her infant, in which infants initiate attention for social sharing purposes, respond to behavioral requests, mother and infant give simultaneous attention to the same object or event, and reciprocate one another's behaviors (Tomasello 1995; Reyna and Pickler 2009; Meins et al. 2011). Joint attention skills are implicated in later language development and cognitive functioning (Brooks, and Meltzof 2005). As infants exhibit gaze following skills, they connect vocalizations with objects/events and imitate them. "
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    • "infants reliably follow a person's gaze to an object within their immediate visual field (D'Entremont, Hains, & Muir, 1997), and by 12 months, they follow gaze to targets behind themselves (Deak, Flom, & Pick, 2000) and behind barriers (Moll & Tomasello, 2004). Gaze following is of high interest because it is a fundamental aspect of joint attention and as such has been related to infant information processing (Reid & Striano, 2007) and later language development (Baldwin, 1995; Brooks & Meltzoff, 2005). "
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