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New Insights into the Inter-Individual Variability in Perspective Taking

Psychological Sciences Research Institute, Université catholique de Louvain, Louvain-La-Neuve 1348, Belgium
Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Unit, Department of Basic Psychological Research and Research Methods, Faculty of Psychology, University of Vienna, Vienna 1010, Austria
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Alessandro Soranzo
Received: 14 September 2016 / Revised: 4 December 2016 / Accepted: 20 December 2016 / Published: 3 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Reflexive Shifts in Visual Attention)
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This study aimed to test whether individual differences in perspective taking could be explained with two underpinning cognitive dimensions: The ability to handle the conflict between our egocentric perspective and another person’s perspective and the relative attentional focus during processing on the egocentric perspective versus another person’s perspective. We conducted cluster analyses on 346 participants who completed a visual perspective-taking task assessing performance on these two cognitive dimensions. Individual differences were best reduced by forming four clusters, or profiles, of perspective-takers. This partition reflected a high heterogeneity along both dimensions. In addition, deconstructing the perspective-taking performance into two distinct cognitive dimensions better predicted participants’ self-reported everyday life perspective-taking tendencies. Altogether, considering attentional focus and conflict handling as two potential sources of variability allows forming a two-dimensional space that enriches our understanding of the individual differences in perspective taking. View Full-Text
Keywords: individual differences; perspective taking; theory of mind; social cognition; empathy individual differences; perspective taking; theory of mind; social cognition; empathy

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Bukowski, H.; Samson, D. New Insights into the Inter-Individual Variability in Perspective Taking. Vision 2017, 1, 8.

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