Joint attention is the shared focus of two or more individuals on the same object. Sensory cues, such as detecting the direction of another person׳s gaze, play a major role in establishing joint attention. It may also involve a kind of mental resonance that might be felt by the people involved.



Scientific Papers on Joint Attention

Linking Minds Through Joint Attention: A Preliminary Investigation

Journal of the Society for Psychical Research (2015) 79 No. 4: 193-200
by Rupert Sheldrake
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Abstract
This study investigated whether people could tell when another person was looking at teh same object.participants looking directly at the same object. Participants worked in pairs. They were separated by a wall in such a way that they could not see each other, but both could see a target object such as an apple. Tests consisted of 20 trials, each lasting about 10 seconds. One of the participants (the ‘ looker’) either looked at the object, or did not look, in a random sequence, and the other participant (the ‘guesser’) had to guess whether or not the other person was looking at the object. Altogether there were 310 tests with 6,200 trials. The total number of hits was 3,255 (52.5%), significantly above the chance level of 50% (p = 0.00003).

Is Joint Attention Detectable at a Distance? Three Automated, Internet-Based Tests

Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing (2016) 12 No.1: 34-41
by Rupert Sheldrake and Ashweeni Beeharee
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Context
Joint attention is the shared focus of two or more individuals on the same object. Sensory cues, such as detecting the direction of another person׳s gaze, play a major role in establishing joint attention. It may also involve a kind of mental resonance that might be felt by the people involved.

Objective
The aim of this study was to find out whether people could feel when another person was looking at the same picture at the same time, even when the participants were many miles apart.

Method
Participants registered online with their names and e-mail addresses, and worked in pairs. After they both logged on for the test they were simultaneously shown one of two photographs, with a 0.5 probability of seeing the same picture. After 20 s they were asked if their partner was looking at the same picture or not. After both had registered their guess, the next trial began, with a different pair of pictures. The main outcome measure was the proportion of correct guesses, compared with the 50% mean chance expectation. This test was symmetrical in that all participants were both “senders” and “receivers.”

Results
In the first experiment, with 11,160 trials, the hit rate was 52.8% (P < 1 × 10−6); in the second experiment with 2720 trials, 51.3% (P = .09). The third experiment involved music as well as pictures, and with 8860 trials, the hit rate was 51.9% (P = .0003). Some partners were more than 1000 miles apart, but there were no significant effect of distance. Participants who received immediate feedback about whether their guess was right or wrong did not score significantly better than those without feedback.