Infant responding to joint attention, executive processes, and self-regulation in preschool children

Amy Vaughan Van Hecke, Peter Mundy, Jessica J. Block, Christine E.F. Delgado, Meaghan V. Parlade, Yuly B. Pomares, Jessica A. Hobson

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39 Scopus citations


Infant joint attention is related to behavioral and social outcomes, as well as language in childhood. Recent research and theory suggests that the relations between joint attention and social-behavioral outcomes may reflect the role of executive self-regulatory processes in the development of joint attention. To test this hypothesis two studies were conducted. The first, cross-sectional study examined the development of responding to joint attention (RJA) skill in terms of increasing executive efficiency of responding between 9 and 18 months of age. The results indicated that development of RJA was characterized by a decreased latency to shift attention in following another person's gaze and head turn, as well as an increase in the proportion of correct RJA responses exhibited by older infants. The second study examined the longitudinal relations between 12-month measures of responding to joint attention and 36-month attention regulation in a delay of gratification task. The results indicated that responding to joint attention at 12-months was significantly related to children's use of three types of self-regulation behaviors while waiting for a snack reward at 36 months of age. These observations are discussed in light of a developmental theory of attention regulation and joint attention in infancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-311
Number of pages9
JournalInfant Behavior and Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • Delay of gratification
  • Executive function
  • Infant
  • Joint attention
  • Responding to joint attention
  • Self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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