Both the domain-general and the mentalising processes affect visual perspective taking

PESIMENA, Gabriele and SORANZO, Alessandro (2023). Both the domain-general and the mentalising processes affect visual perspective taking. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 76 (3), 469-484.

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People’s attention cannot help being affected by what others are looking at. The dot-perspective task has been often employed to investigate this visual attentional shift. In this task participants are presented with virtual scenes with a cue facing some targets and must judge how many targets are visible from their own or the cue perspective. Typically, this task shows an interference pattern: Participants record slower RTs and more errors when the cue is facing away from the targets. Interestingly, this occurs also when participants take their own perspective. Two accounts contend the explanation of this interference. The mentalizing account focuses on the social relevance of the cue; whilst the domain-general account focuses on the directional features of the cue. To investigate the relative contribution of the two accounts, we developed a Social_Only cue, a cue having only social features and compared its effects with a Social+Directional cue, which had both social and directional features. Results show that whilst the Social+Directional cue generates the typical interference pattern, the Social_Only cue does not generate interference in the RTs, only in the error rate. We advance an integration between the mentalizing and the domain-general accounts. We suggest that the dot perspective task requires two processes: an orienting process, elicited by the directional features of the cue and measured by the RTs, and a decisional process elicited by the social features of the cue and measured also by the error rate.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1701 Psychology; 1702 Cognitive Sciences; Experimental Psychology
Identification Number:
Page Range: 469-484
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2022 15:04
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2023 17:01

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