Table of Contents
Newborn infants can orient to head and eye movements of nearby adults within a few months from birth. Infants track the movements of an adult’s eye and head instinctively, and develop the ability to look in the direction indicated. Gaze-following provides important cues about the location of objects in many animals. In developing, pre-linguistic children this functions as a complex form of social cognition. Certain salient features of gaze-following are predictors of the mental states of others and, in humans, are reflective of the theory of mind (ToM). In children the ToM allows the representations of the mental states of others can be an early predictor of symbolic thinking and language function later in life.
Keywords: eye gaze, gaze-following, joint attention, language, social cognition, theory of mind, gaze detection