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Visual perspective-taking and image-like representations: We don’t see it.

Samuel, Steven and Hagspiel, Klara and Eacott, Madeline J and Cole, Geoff G (2021) 'Visual perspective-taking and image-like representations: We don’t see it.' Cognition, 210. ISSN 0010-0277

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The ability to represent another agent’s visual perspective has recently been attributed to a process called “perceptual simulation”, whereby we generate an image-like or “quasi-perceptual” representation of another agent’s vision. In an extensive series of experiments we tested this notion. Adult observers were presented with pictures of an agent looking at two horizontal lines, one of which was closer to the agent and hence appeared longer from his/her visual perspective. In each case approximately as many participants judged the closer line to appear shorter as longer (to the agent), i.e., failures to take the agent’s perspective. This occurred when clear depth cues were added to emphasise the agent’s location relative to the stimuli, when the agent was moved closer to the lines, when the lines were oriented vertically, when judgments could be made while viewing the image, and when participants imagined themselves in the agent’s place. It also persisted when we asked participants to imagine what a photo taken from the same location as the agent would show, ruling out a misinterpretation of the instructions. Overall, our data suggest that adults attempt to solve visual perspective-taking problems by drawing upon naïve and often erroneous ideas about how vision works rather than through attempting to simulate perception.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: perspective taking, vision, theory of mind, perceptual simulation, naive optics, mental imagery
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 19 Jan 2021 09:01
Last Modified: 12 Mar 2021 14:15

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