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Flexible egocentricity: Asymmetric switch costs on a perspective-taking task

Samuel, Steven and Roehr-Brackin, Karen and Jelbert, Sarah and Clayton, Nicola S (2019) 'Flexible egocentricity: Asymmetric switch costs on a perspective-taking task.' Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 45 (2). 213 - 218. ISSN 0278-7393

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We gave 40 participants a task in which they needed to select target objects from an array according to the instructions of either an informed director (who shared their perspective of the array) or an ignorant director (whose view of the array was restricted owing to barriers). Importantly, sometimes only one of the directors was visible, and on some trials when both directors were present participants were required to switch between perspectives. We found that participants were faster to select items from the informed director’s perspective than the ignorant director’s perspective, but that they slowed when there was a visible but inactive second director. Crucially, relative to non-switch trials where the same perspective was taken twice consecutively, participants exhibited a significant cost of switching between perspectives when returning to take their own perspective, but not when switching to the other point of view. We interpret these results as evidence that participants inhibit their more salient perspective in order to adopt another’s, and then incur an asymmetric switch cost as a result. This suggests that although we are egocentric by default, our egocentricity is effectively, albeit temporarily, eliminated if we have just adopted an alternative frame of reference.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Perspective-Taking, Egocentric Bias, Director Task
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2018 08:28
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2020 19:15

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