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ERIC Number: EJ810145
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Sep
Pages: 26
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0273-2297
The "Dual Usage Problem" in the Explanations of "Joint Attention" and Children's Socioemotional Development: A Reconceptualization
Tasker, Susan L.; Schmidt, Louis A.
Developmental Review, v28 n3 p263-288 Sep 2008
The term "joint attention", which first gained currency in the early 1960s in studies of the development of language and symbolic thought, remains significant in the developmental literature. However, its meaning is unclear. A definitional problem exists similar to what Patterson [Patterson, M. L. (1982). "A sequential functional model of nonverbal exchange." "Psychological Review, 89", 231-249] described as the "dual usage" problem in the study of behaviour. The dual usage problem manifests when the "behaviours" of interest are used interchangeably with the "function" served by those behaviours. Similarly, the behaviours or skills that are taken to show joint attention are used interchangeably with the functions served by these behaviours. Scant attention is given to how the behaviours are generated and regulated and how they contribute to development. The purpose of the present position paper was: (1) to identify and illustrate the ways in which the behaviours and functions of joint attention have been confounded in the literature; (2) to provide a revised operationalization of joint attention incorporating the idea of "Consummative Joint Attention", which is defined as a process variable that integrates these two theoretically different and complementary aspects of "joint attention;" and (3) to test this revised definition with evidence from a sample of hearing mothers and their 18- to 36-month-old hearing or deaf toddlers. We suggest that a reconceptualization and revised definition of joint attention as a process served by a particular sequence of complementary and well-timed events in the behaviour of mother-child interaction are particularly well-suited to testing joint attention as an early prelingual mechanism and to detecting early problems with psychosocial and adaptive development created by ineffective patterns of social interaction. (Contains 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A