By Peter C. Mundy PhD
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Extra info for Autism and Joint Attention: Development, Neuroscience, and Clinical Fundamentals
Joint Attention and Choice In the study of attention, it is also wise to recognize that motivation plays a fundamental role in what we choose to consider in the world. Sometimes the external world exerts seemingly obligatory control over where or toward what we direct the spotlight of our attention. , Bahrick & Lickliter, 2000). Alternatively, we can also spontaneously and volitionally direct the spotlight of our attention to an object 30 AUTISM AND JOINT AT TENTION or event of our choosing. Both types of processes are examined in the study of joint attention.
It is a truly complex facility of the mind. Its demanding, triadic, referential information processing distinguishes it from cognitive functions specific to social orienting, face processing, and other dyadic forms of social interaction, including imitation. To the degree that the foregoing basic task analysis is correct, it also guides our thinking about the nature of joint attention differences in autism spectrum development. It suggests at least three possible sources of these differences. Joint attention development in ASD may be affected by differences in the development of the ability or tendency to process external information about other people.
Joint attention falls within the Systems for Social Processes domain of the RDoC. 1). gov/research-priorities/rdoc/rdoc-constructs. shtml). Within this taxonomy, joint attention falls within Social Communication, but not as a distinct mental function with a specified course of neurodevelopment. Rather, it is conceived of in much more limited fashion. 2). This allocation within the RDoC has some logic to it. Joint attention is clearly pivotal to human social communication (Adamson, 1995). , Brooks & Meltzoff, 2002; Kasari, Freeman, & Paparella, 2000; Mundy & Crowson, 1997).