Taking Someone Else’s Perspective: When Body “Position” is More Important than Body “Presence”


Taking another person’s perspective when describing spatial scenes is more common when a person is present in the scene. (Tversky & Hard, 2009). What about seeing another person elicits an allocentric perspective? Participants were shown one of a variety of pictures displaying a book and cup placed, side-by-side, on a table. Some photos also pictured a man sitting behind the table, either facing the camera or facing to the left or right. Viewers were more likely to take the man’s perspective while describing object locations when the man was facing the camera than when the man was facing to either side. Many factors influence which perspective people take. These results suggest that the mere presence of a person in a scene does not guarantee a viewer will take someone else’s perspective, but rather the way a person is positioned in a scene might also be of critical importance.

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