Abstract: On Privileging The Role of Gaze in Infant Social Cognition

AKHTAR, N., & GERNSBACHER, M. A. (2008). On privileging the role of gaze in infant social cognition. Child Development Perspectives, 2, 60-66.
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Theories of early social-cognitive development privilege infants’ use of gaze as a cue to others’ attention and intentions. Mutual gaze is assumed to indicate social engagement, gaze following is believed to index understanding of others’ attention, and gaze alternation (between an object and a caregiver )is used to assess joint attention. This article discusses other cues (e.g., vocal and postural) on which children in other cultures and atypically developing children in Western cultures probably rely. It proposes that it is quite likely that typically developing children in Western cultures also use nongaze cues—in conjunction with gaze—in their everyday interactions with others.