To determine whether infants follow the gaze of adults because they understand the referential nature of looking or because they use the adult turn as a predictive cue for the location of interesting events, the gaze-following behavior of 14- and
18-month-olds was examined in the joint visual attention paradigm under varying vi- sual obstruction conditions: (a) when the experimenter’s line of sight was obstructed by opaque screens (screen condition), (b) when the experimenter’s view was not ob- structed (no-screen condition), and (c) when the opaque screens contained a large transparent window (window condition). It was assumed that infants who simply use adult turns as predictive cues would turn equally in all 3 conditions but infants who comprehend the referential nature of looking would turn maximally when the experi- menter’s vision was not blocked and minimally when her vision was blocked. Eigh- teen-month-olds responded in accord with the referential position (turning much more in the no-screen and window conditions than in the screen condition). However,
14-month-olds yielded a mixed response pattern (turning less in the screen than the no-screen condition but turning still less in the window condition). The results sug- gest that, unlike 18-month-olds, 14-month-olds do not understand the intentional na- ture of looking and are unclear about the requirements for successful looking.