In this project, we propose that joint attention is a fundamentally multisensory phenomenon. Using both philosophical and experimental methods, we study how different senses shape joint attention and, conversely, how joint attention can affect perception across modalities.

Keywords: Joint attention, Social cognition, Multisensory perception 


We frequently and effortlessly coordinate our attention with others towards a common focus, from playing basketball and singing duets, to child and caregiver sharing a toy. Joint attention plays a fundamental role in our social lives: it ensures that we refer to the same object, develop a shared language, understand each other and coordinate our actions. Research on joint attention has been mostly focused on eye-gaze coordination. But is vision sufficient? Which role do the other senses play in joint attention?

At this stage we are:

Proposing a framework of multisensory contributions to establishing and maintaining joint attention

Testing how joint attention affects multisensory processing

Analyzing whether mutual awareness is necessary for joint attention

Our latest research updates:

New paper: Coordinating attention requires coordinated senses

Battich, L., Fairhurst, M., & Deroy, O. (2020). Coordinating attention requires coordinated senses. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-020-01766-z There is more to joint attention than meets the eye! Playing tennis, singing together, ordering a cake: we effortlessly coordinate each other’s attention towards a common focus in rich multisensory ways. Here...

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Interested? Find out more:

Our publications:

Battich, L., Fairhurst, M., & Deroy, O. (2020). Coordinating attention requires coordinated senses. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 27(6): 1126-1138. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-020-01766-z

Battich, L. and Geurts, B. (2020). Joint attention and perceptual experience. Synthese. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-020-02602-6

Other academic resources:

Poster presented at the Aegina Summer School on Social Cognition 2019, Aegina, Greece.

Poster presented at the Summer School “Recent Developments in Situated Cognition” 2019, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany.

Talk presented at the Open Minds XIII Conference, 2018, The University of Manchester, UK.

A discussion of the role of joint attention at the Institute of Art and Ideas News.

Lucas Battich
Lucas Battich

Project Lead

Ophelia Deroy
Ophelia Deroy