Attachment and joint attention in infants: the role of expectation

Neda Mohammadzade-Naghashana*, Mohammad-Ali Mazaheri, Erik Gustafsson, Vahid Sadeghi-Firoozabadi, Abbas Zabihzadeh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Previous research highlighted the correlation between parent–infant's attachment quality and joint attention skills. However, the underlying mechanisms of this relationship are still unclear. The aim of this study was to assess whether it is by mediating the expectation component in Internal Working Models that the quality of attachment style can affect joint attention. At first, 12‐ to 20‐month‐old infants were classified into secure and insecure groups using the Strange Situation Procedure. On a following day, using a violation‐of‐expectation paradigm, infants were habituated to two joint attention videos. Finally, the mean looking time duration of secure and insecure infants were compared with each other between two “divergent attention” and “joint attention” videos. Infants looked longer for divergent attention videos suggesting they did have expectation regarding the appropriate response in triadic interactions. In line with our main hypothesis, secure infants, but not insecure ones, looked longer in the divergent attention situation when an attachment‐related context was present, revealing the possible mediating role of “expectations” in the correlation between attachment and joint attention.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-237
Number of pages15
Issue number2
Early online date20 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2021


  • attachment styles
  • expectation
  • internal working models
  • joint attention


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