Dissociation of posture remapping and cognitive load in level-2 perspective-taking

Cognition. 2021 May 26;214:104733. doi: 10.1016/j.cognition.2021.104733. Online ahead of print.


Visuospatial perspective-taking is the foundation for inferring the mental state of another person during social interaction. Although research has shown that dual processes are involved in self-judgment when an avatar is present on screen, it is unknown whether dual independent processes also underlie perspective-taking. During the three experiments in the present study, the participants made laterality judgments according to the perspective of a seated or standing avatar. The angular disparity between the egocentric and altercentric perspectives was manipulated so that the two perspectives led to congruent or incongruent responses. While performing the task, the participants were seated or standing (Experiment 1), seated and subjected to different response deadlines (Experiment 2), or seated and subjected to different mental workloads (Experiment 3). The analysis based on the process-dissociation-procedure framework showed that automatic processing was reduced when the participants stood on their feet and took the perspective of a seated avatar. Posture remapping did not influence controlled processing or behavioral outcomes. Conversely, time pressure and working memory load reduced controlled processing and impaired perspective-taking, but did not affect automatic processing. Thus, dual independent processes are involved in taking another person’s perspective. Reduction of the automatic component may help to lower self-bias in preparation to act when posture remapping is required during social interactions, while cognitive load may impair the controlled processing of spatial alignment and response selection during visuospatial perspective-taking.

PMID:34051424 | DOI:10.1016/j.cognition.2021.104733