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The theoretical implications of joint-attention deficits in autism

  • Peter Mundy (a1) and Marian Sigman (a1)

Abstract

Deficits in gestural joint-attention behaviors are a prominent feature of young autistic children. Attempts to explain these deficits have called upon the metarepresentational deficit hypothesis (Baron-Cohen, 1988; Leslie & Frith, 1988). However, developmental research suggests that joint-attention skills emerge prior to the cognitive capacity for metarepresentation. Thus, the metarepresentational hypothesis does not appear to provide a parsimonious explanation of autistic joint-attention deficits. An alternative model is proposed that attempts to explain these deficits in terms of the combined negative impact of developmental disturbances in affective, as well as cognitive, processes.

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Corresponding author

Reprint requests may be sent to: Peter Mundy, Ph.D., Department of Psychiatry, UCLA Center for the Health Sciences, 760 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA 90024.

References

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The theoretical implications of joint-attention deficits in autism

  • Peter Mundy (a1) and Marian Sigman (a1)

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