Psychological Science 2018, (2) 504-510 DOI:     ISSN: 0412-1961 CN: 21-1139/TG

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Level-1 perspective taking
Level-2 perspective taking
Spatial cognition
Spatial judgment
Sensorimotor information
GE Xian-Liang
TIAN Zhi-Jiang
GE Li-Yin
Article by Zhang,h
Article by Ge,X.L
Article by Tian,Z.J
Article by Ge,L.Y

Level-1 and Level-2 Spatial Perspective Taking:An Overview of Behavioral Research and Theories


Spatial perspective taking (SPT) is an ability to mentally adopt and represent the spatial relationships from the other’s viewpoints. The purpose of this literature is to review SPT related researches and summaries the relevant theories base on two levels of perspective taking defined by Flavell (1977). (1) For the studies of Level-1 perspective taking, this review divides previous research paradigms into 2 categories: visibility judgment task, quantity judgment task. Visibility task requires participants to judge whether the target is visible for another person. Quantity judgment task asks participants to compare the quantity of targets from their own perspective and the avatar’s. Then judging whether they are the same. (2) For Level-2 perspective taking, this review divides previous research paradigms into 4 categories: recognition task, direction judgment task, map navigation task, quantity judgment task. Recognition task needs participants to imagine a scene at another observer’s position. Direction judgment has three different types of task: pointing task (judgments of relative direction), laterality judgment task, same or different task. Map navigation task demands participants to mentally navigation in a planned map. The quantity judgment task needs participants to answer the quantity of the visible item from avatar’s perspective. In addition, this literature concludes several theories to explain findings on spatial perspective taking. For Level-1 perspective taking, researchers claim that participants would use line-of-sight tracing strategy to perform judgments about the visibility of target. However, it was not clear that how people complete Level-2 perspective taking tasks. Several researches used direction judgment tasks and map navigation tasks found the behavioral performance patterns of Level-2 perspective taking has 2 characteristics: the angular disparity effect, and the back-facing advantage. To explain these effects, the researchers produced three kinds of hypothesis: mental spatial transformation hypothesis, sensorimotor interference hypothesis, spatial compatibility effects hypothesis. (1) Mental spatial transformation hypothesis states that people imagine themselves to transform to a new position, the additional transformation cost resulted the angular disparity effect and back-facing advantage. (2) Sensorimotor interference hypothesis states that the angular disparity effect is due to a conflict of sensorimotor codes, the conflict occurs when the observer’s real direction and imagine directions are incompatible. (3) Spatial compatibility effects hypothesis indicates that spatial incompatibility may contribute to angular disparity effect and back-facing advantage. Spatial compatibility indicates the position of the target objects and response key is congruent. On the contrary, spatial incompatibility indicates the position of the target objects and response key is incongruent. Response time is shorter at spatial compatibility trails. At last, this review comes up with 3 suggestions for future research. First, future research should consider which kinds of experiment tasks could accurately examine spatial perspective taking. Second, future research should explore the spatial relationship representation between multiple objects relative to observer and another person. Finally, future research should adopt more virtual reality presentation format to present experiment stimuli materials.

Keywords Level-1 perspective taking   Level-2 perspective taking   Spatial cognition   Spatial judgment   Sensorimotor information  
Received 2017-05-31 Revised 2017-11-23 Online: 2018-03-20 
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