In this paper, Tomasello and Carpenter (2007) argue for the significance of processes of shared intentionality in children’s early cognitive development. To fully explore this idea, they discuss four vital aspects of social-cognitive skills and how they are altered by shared intentionality.
The authors look at two sides of each of these four aspects: a form of individualistic version of the skill and a version based on shared intentionality. As stated by the authors, shared intentionality is a very vital process in children’s cognitive development as it allows brings out the uniqueness out every child during the developmental stage, and is very important towards cognitive development.
The authors attempt to answer the question on whether shared intentionality is important to the cognitive development of children. The question stems from the fact that human cognition is very different from that of animals, including our closest ‘relatives’, primates.
Although primates have some level of collaboration among them, the extent of the level of collaboration among them remains a controversial subject. Children, on the other hand, engage in collaborative ideas as they find it to be more rewarding as they develop shared goals and plans through shared intentionality.
The answer to the question lies in the authors’ analysis of the four core aspects of social-cognitive skills. They observe that apes are mostly concerned with individualistic objectives while engaging in group activities, in other words, they exploit others by collecting information from them, controlling them, coordinating actions with them for their own advantage, and frequently engage in competitive behavior.
However, children are more concerned with sharing psychological states during collaborative activities by providing them with useful information, forming shared intentions and attention with others, and achieving cognitive development from demonstrations for their own use.
Another answer to the significance of shared intentionality in children would focus on the fact that children are able to construct exceptionally powerful types of perspectival cognitive demonstration when they engage in shared activities. This might be shared intentionality.
Tomasello, Michael. and Carpenter, Malinda. (2007). Shared intentionality. Developmental Science, 10:1 (2007), pp 121–125