Time and sequence as key developmental dimensions of joint action

Valentina Fantasia, Jonathan Delafield-Butt

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Joint action, generally defined as working together towards a common purpose, has become an important concept in many areas of cognitive science, from philosophical appraisal of its core concepts to empirical mapping of its psychological development. Within mainstream cognitive accounts, to engage in a joint action requires an inferential process of representing the other’s intentions and plans to enable social coordination for a shared goal. However, growing endorsement of a contrasting view from embodied and situated accounts of social cognition proposes that joint action is better understood as a dynamic, situated interactional process where participants “roll into” joint action without requiring reflective or representational awareness of it. This work proposes a rethinking of how we conceive the nature of action and its development as joint action early in human life. With particular reference to developmental studies, we advance a rationale for the conceptual framework of joint action to include its temporal and sequential structures, and their intrinsic prospective qualities of human action, solitary or shared, as key analytical aspects for the study of how infants understand and share meaning with another, in joint interaction.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101091
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalDevelopmental Review
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Interaction Technologies
  • Information Systems, Social aspects
  • Human Computer Interaction

Free keywords

  • Joint actions
  • Infancy
  • Embodied social cognition
  • Time
  • Sequentiality
  • Prospectivity


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