'Spontaneous' visual perspective-taking mediated by attention orienting that is voluntary and not reflexive

Article


Gardner, Mark R., Hull, Zainabb, Taylor, Donna and Edmonds, C. 2018. 'Spontaneous' visual perspective-taking mediated by attention orienting that is voluntary and not reflexive. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology. 71 (4), pp. 1020-1029.
AuthorsGardner, Mark R., Hull, Zainabb, Taylor, Donna and Edmonds, C.
Abstract

Experiments revealing ‘spontaneous’ visual perspective-taking are conventionally interpreted as demonstrating that adults have the capacity to track simple mental states in a fast and efficient manner (‘implicit mentalising’). A rival account suggests that these experiments can be explained by the general purpose mechanisms responsible for reflexive attentional orienting. Here, we report two experiments designed to distinguish between these competing accounts. In Experiment 1, we assessed whether reflexive attention orienting was sufficient to yield findings interpreted as spontaneous perspective taking in the ‘avatar task’ (Samson et al., 2010) when the protocol was adapted so that participants were unaware that they were taking part in a perspective-taking experiment. Results revealed no evidence for perspective-taking. In Experiment 2, we employed a Posner paradigm to investigate the attentional orienting properties of the avatar stimuli. This revealed cue-validity effects only for longer stimulus onset asynchronies, which indicates a voluntary rather than reflexive shift in spatial attention. Taken together, these findings suggest that attentional orienting does indeed contribute to performance in the Samson et al. avatar task. However, attention orienting appears to be voluntary rather than reflexive, indicating that the perspective-taking phenomenon measured may be less spontaneous than first reported.

Keywordssocial attention; attention orienting; perspective-taking; theory of mind; implicit mentalising
JournalQuarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
Journal citation71 (4), pp. 1020-1029
ISSN1747-0218
1747-0226
Year2018
PublisherSAGE Publications
Accepted author manuscript
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1080/17470218.2017.1307868
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1080/17470218.2017.1307868
Publication dates
Online01 Jan 2018
Print01 Apr 2018
Publication process dates
Deposited07 Feb 2017
Accepted30 Jan 2017
Accepted30 Jan 2017
FunderExperimental Psychology Society
Experimental Psychology Society
Copyright informationGardner, M. et al., 'Spontaneous' visual perspective-taking mediated by attention orienting that is voluntary and not reflexive, Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 71 (4) pp. 1020-1029. Copyright © 2018. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications.
LicenseAll rights reserved (under embargo)
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