Seeing it their way: evidence for rapid and involuntary computation of what other people see

J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 2010 Oct;36(5):1255-66. doi: 10.1037/a0018729.


In a series of three visual perspective-taking experiments, we asked adult participants to judge their own or someone else's visual perspective in situations where both perspectives were either the same or different. We found that participants could not easily ignore what someone else saw when making self-perspective judgments. This was observed even when participants were only required to take their own perspective within the same block of trials (Experiment 2) or even within the entire experiment (Experiment 3), i.e. under conditions which gave participants a clear opportunity to adopt a strategy of ignoring the other person's irrelevant perspective. Under some circumstances, participants were also more efficient at judging the other person's perspective than at judging their own perspective. Collectively, these results suggest that adults make use of rapid and efficient processes to compute what other people can see.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Automatism / psychology*
  • Depth Perception
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Judgment*
  • Male
  • Orientation*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual*
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Reaction Time
  • Theory of Mind*
  • User-Computer Interface
  • Young Adult