Although reasoning about other people's mental states has typically been thought to require effortful deliberation, evidence from indirect measures suggests that people may implicitly track others’ perspectives, spontaneously calculating what they see and know. We used a process-dissociation approach to investigate the unique contributions of automatic and controlled processes to level-1 visual perspective taking in adults. In Experiment 1, imposing time pressure reduced the ability to exert control over one's responses, but it left automatic processing of a target's perspective unchanged. In Experiment 2, automatic processing of a target's perspective was greater when the target was a human avatar versus a non-social entity, whereas controlled processing was relatively unaffected by the specific target. Our findings highlight the utility of a process-dissociation approach for increasing theoretical precision and generating new questions about the nature of perspective taking.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Language and Linguistics
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Linguistics and Language
- Cognitive Neuroscience