The role of joint attention in social communication and play among infants

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16 Scopus citations


Joint attention enables infants to communicate with adults as well as with each other, sharing what is in their minds. Yet, communicative competence and joint attention between infant peers have received little attention in the literature. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore how infants under the age of two within a childcare setting communicate with each other through joint attention and social understanding during daily interactions. Findings indicated that infants utilized various communicative means, intentional pointing, and joint attention in order to share their experience with each other, develop social understanding, and enjoy social joint play. This study also suggests that conflicts between infants can be a fundamental vehicle for developing social understanding and joint play activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-317
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Early Childhood Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2012


  • conflict
  • infancy
  • joint attention
  • qualitative research
  • social play
  • social understanding


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