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The Nature of Joint Attention: Perception and Other Minds

PhD Project of Lucas Battich

Joint attention, the ability to socially coordinate attention to a common object or event, is considered fundamental to several aspects of human cognition and interaction, including the use of referential expressions, and the development of social cognition and concept acquisition. Although joint attention has been a topic of study for about two decades across several disciplines, it remains unclear hot joint attention should be best characterized, and how it is involved in all these functions. Similarly, current research on joint attention is narrowly focused on selected visual cases, and tends to be carried out in relative isolation from debates in perceptual experience, selective attention, and multisensory research.

This project aims is to elucidate the relational nature of joint attention and its functional significance for social cognition. This research goal is sub-divided into the interrelated objectives of (1) clarifying the role of perceptual experience for characterizing joint attention, and (2) providing a functional analysis of how joint attention is implicated in cases involving different sense modalities and non-perceptual social coordination.