Joint attention and construction of gaze alternation in «face-to-face» interaction between adult and infant from 6 to 15 months of age, through the use of objects

3.1 Farther reaches of theoretical and methodological explorations
Paper in a Symposium (Symp)
1:30 PM, Thursday 31 Aug 2017 (30 minutes)
Joint attention is a critical socio-cognitive competence (e.g. Tomasello, 1995, 1999) developed by the infant during infancy. In our talk, we will examine the progressive construction of joint attention through gaze alternation during the use of objects in adult-object-infant from 6 to 15 months of age. The research concerns six dyads observed in triadic interaction. The use of object (cf. Object Pragmatics paradigm, Moro & Rodríguez, 2005) is a privileged place for the emergence of gaze alternation which is a quite slow process (Moro, 2014). Contributing to gaze alternation which is a 2 key process in the construction of joint attention, the use of the object primarily performed by the adult, supports the development of motives through emotions and allows a selective attention to the other and to the object from the part of the infant, providing an opportunity to differentiate the meanings related to the object and its use and the meanings related to adult’s intentions. Taking into account the two levels of intersubjectivity (primary and secondary) put forward by Trevarthen (1979); Trevarthen & Hubley (1978), our research shows that the adult uses «face-toface» interaction to present the object to the infant and moreover, according to the type of object, assigns human characteristics to it. Theoretically, our research is based on Vygotsky’s cultural-historical approach which points out the dialectical relations between psychic functions (and the change of dominance between them), and particularly in the present case, action (through the use of object), emotion, attention and joint attention under construction. Methodologically, we use a microgenetic frame to frame analysis and focus closely on gazes, postures, vocalizations, smiles, laughs, actions... of the infant and all kinds of movements in conjunction with the mediations of the adult such as the ostensive signs. The first results of this research as they appear suggest an intermediary type of intersubjectivity which establishes links between primary intersubjectivity and secondary intersubjectivity advanced by Trevarthen. 
University of Lausanne
University of Lausanne

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