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Abstract

Recent studies have attempted to understand the processes involved in joint attention because of its relevance to both atypical and normal development. Data from a recent study of young children with autism suggests that performance on a delay nonmatch to sample (DNMS) task associated with ventromedial prefrontal functions, but not an A-not-B/delayed response task associated with dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, was related to joint attention skills (Dawson et al., 2002). Recent research also suggests that joint attention is associated with dorsalmedial brain systems linked to self-monitoring (Mundy, 2003). This study investigated the relations among joint attention, DNMS, and self-recognition performance in a longitudinal study of 39 normally developing toddlers from 14 to 18 months. The results indicated that development on the DNMS and self-recognition tasks, but not a means end task, predicted joint attention at 18 months. Further analysis showed that the model was only significant for initiating joint attention (IJA). The implications of these results for the neuro-development of IJA are discussed.