The ability to take a different perspective is central to a tremendous variety of higher level cognitive skills. To communicate effectively, we must adopt the perspective of another person both while speaking and listening. To ensure the successful retrieval of critical information in the future, we must adopt the perspective of our own future self and construct cues that will survive the passage of time. Here we explore the cognitive underpinnings of perspective-taking across a set of tasks that involve communication and memory, with an eye toward evaluating the proposal that perspective-taking is domain-general (e.g., Wardlow, 2013). We measured participants' perspective-taking ability in a language production task, a language comprehension task, and a memory task in which people generated their own cues for the future. Surprisingly, there was little variance common to the 3 tasks, a result that suggests that perspective-taking is not domain-general. Performance in the language production task was predicted by a measure of working memory, whereas performance in the cue-generation memory task was predicted by a combination of working memory and long-term memory measures. These results indicate that perspective-taking relies on differing cognitive capacities in different situations.
- Memory cue generation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental Neuroscience