Reduction of Recognition of the Orienting Value of the Gaze as a Violation of the Mechanism of Joint Attention among Preschoolers



The article discusses the role of the model of mental and separately the mechanism of joint attention in the normative age development of preschool children. It is shown that children with a lack of joint attention may experience difficulties in acquiring a wide range of developmental skills, and the ability to use the line of sight is part of a general mechanism that will further allow understanding and understanding the meaning of social information, the child’s ability to accumulate normal social experience. The hypothesis was verified that the developmental deficit of the mental model in children may be due to a decrease in the level of intellect: the difficulties of joint attention lead to an unformed component of the “objective-reflexive-normative thinking”. On a sample of 493 children of preschool age (typically developing and with mental retardation), a methodology was tested that assesses children’s understanding of the intentions and desires of others in the direction of gaze. It was found that the differences between typically developing children, children with lower bound and delayed age development can be tied to the fact that children who participate in joint attention can contribute to having more conditions to expand social learning opportunities. Changes in the accuracy of identifying the direction of sight shows the dynamics of the cognitive development of the child, which in comparison makes it possible to assess the characteristic differences not only in pathology, but at a decrease in the overall level of age development.

General Information

Keywords: mental model, attention, joint attention, social cognition, tentative basis of actions, age development, preschool age, theory of mind, eye contact, autism, mental retardation

Journal rubric: Cognitive Psychology

Article type: scientific article


Funding. This work was supported by a grant from the president MK-3052.2018.6 «The establishment of similar regulatory standards regarding joint activities in the early stages of ontogenesis».

For citation: Smirnova Y.K., Makashova A.V., Kharitonova M.A. Reduction of Recognition of the Orienting Value of the Gaze as a Violation of the Mechanism of Joint Attention among Preschoolers. Eksperimental'naâ psihologiâ = Experimental Psychology (Russia), 2020. Vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 57–71. DOI: 10.17759/exppsy.2020130205. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Yana K. Smirnova, PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor of the Department of General and Applied Psychology, Institute of Psychology, Altai State University, Barnaul, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Anna V. Makashova, 4th year student, Institute of Psychology, Altai State University, Barnaul, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:

Marina A. Kharitonova, Student, Altai State University (ASU), Barnaul, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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