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Durham University



Publication details for Dr Daniel Smith

Cole, G.G., Atkinson, M., Le, A.T.D. & Smith, D.T. (2016). Do humans spontaneously take the perspective of others? Acta Psychologica 164: 165-168.

Author(s) from Durham


A growing number of authors have argued that humans automatically compute the visual perspective of other individuals. Evidence for this has come from the dot perspective task in which observers are faster to judge the number of dots in a display when a human avatar has the same perspective as the observer compared to when their perspectives are different. The present experiment examined the ‘spontaneous perspective taking’ claim using a variant of the dot perspective paradigm in which we manipulated what the avatar could see via physical barriers that either allowed the targets to be seen by the avatar or occluded this view. We found a robust ‘perspective taking’ effect despite the avatar being unable to see the same stimuli as the participant. These findings do not support the notion that humans spontaneously take the perspective of others.

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