Bill--and Jay and ?-- to whom I did not respond earlier re this topic.;
Bill, you write: It's as if the child
inquires "What are you looking at?" and in this perspective it is not such a
leap to think that the child is, in some very simple way, seeking to see what
the adult has in mind, i.e. what are the intentions of the adult.
This is the same age at which children appear to attribute
intentionality --AS WHAT ANOTHER HAS IN MIND- in a number of
circumstances. There is closely related work
on pointing (which does not follow the story as told by LSV, although
could be seen
as compatible under some interpretations). It is (keep in mind wide
the same age at which children appear to comprehend a word and perhaps
begin to utter one.
It was this sort of convergence of coincidences that got me to respond
positively to thinking about a connection between symbolic/sign
mediation and intentionality. May just a pink or blue herring.
On Tue, 18 Jan 2005 20:07:46 -0500, Bill Barowy <email@example.com> wrote:
> I have had the advantage of reading the whole article on infant selective
> social referencing, so I'd like to clear some misunderstanding. The
> conflation of attention and intention is not on the part of the authors. It
> is not the basis of their theory.
> Rather, the authors suggest it is in the developmental progression of the way
> that an infant seeks to disambiguate a novel situation. The child, upon
> being surprised, may look to an adult. The interesting results are this: At
> seven months, infants look to an adult with the same frequency, regardless of
> where the adult is looking. The frequency with which ten month old children
> look to the adults, however, does depend upon where the adult is looking.
> The authors posit that this is due to the child's rudimentary understanding
> of intention -- the child's gaze depends upon the gaze of his/her social
> partner, i.e. upon the attention of the social partner. It's as if the child
> inquires "What are you looking at?" and in this perspective it is not such a
> leap to think that the child is, in some very simple way, seeking to see what
> the adult has in mind, i.e. what are the intentions of the adult.
> But here is something perhaps a bit more provocative, a little more
> trouble-making. Is it so far fetched to think that this attribution of
> intention by selective attention does not persist in adults? If, at a
> cocktail party, a colleague who has been conversing with another nearby turns
> to you and asks "What do you think?" do you not assume that the question was
> directed to you, that the query was intended for you? What do you think?
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