BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Selective prefrontal cortex responses to joint attention in early infancy

    Grossmann, Tobias and Johnson, Mark H. (2010) Selective prefrontal cortex responses to joint attention in early infancy. Biology Letters 6 (4), pp. 540-543. ISSN 1744-9561.

    Full text not available from this repository.


    The process by which two people share attention towards the same object or event is called joint attention. Joint attention and the underlying triadic representations between self, other person and object are thought to be unique to humans, supporting teaching, cooperation and language learning. Despite the progress that has been made in understanding the behavioural importance of joint attention during early social development, almost nothing is known about the brain substrate that supports joint attention in the developing infant. We examined responses in five-month-old infants' prefrontal cortex during triadic social interactions using near-infrared spectroscopy. The results demonstrate that, even by the age of five months, infants are sensitive to triadic interactions and, like adults, they recruit a specific brain region localized in left dorsal prefrontal cortex when engaged in joint attention with another person. This suggests that the human infant is neurobiologically prepared for sharing attention with other humans, which may provide the basis for a wide variety of uniquely human social and cultural learning processes.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: Published version available via Gold Open Access at
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): social cognition, prefrontal cortex, infancy, joint attention
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2011 11:37
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 16:52


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item