Unintentional perspective-taking calculates whether something is seen, but not how it is seen

Cognition. 2016 Mar;148:97-105. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2015.12.010. Epub 2016 Jan 2.


A long established distinction exists in developmental psychology between young children's ability to judge whether objects are seen by another, known as "level-1" perspective-taking, and judging how the other sees those objects, known as "level-2" perspective-taking (Flavell, Everett, Croft, & Flavell, 1981a; Flavell, Flavell, Green, & Wilcox, 1981b). Samson, Apperly, Braithwaite, Andrews, and Bodley Scott (2010) provided evidence that there are two routes available to adults for level-1 perspective-taking: one which is triggered relatively automatically and the other requiring cognitive control. We tested whether both these routes were available for adults' level-2 perspective-taking. Explicit judgements of both level-1 and level-2 perspectives were subject to egocentric interference, suggesting a need for cognitive control. Evidence of unintentional perspective-taking was limited to level-1 judgements.

Keywords: Perspective-taking; Theory of mind; Visual perspective-taking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cognition / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Judgment / physiology*
  • Male
  • Theory of Mind / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*
  • Young Adult