Spatial Cognition Adapts to Social Context

Abstract

We present a dynamical systems model that captures human perspective-taking behavior in a visuospatial mental rotation task. The task requires participants to interpret an ambiguous request for a visual referent, either by taking their own perspective (egocentric; "the referent is on my right") or the perspective of the requester (other-centric; "the referent is on your right"). Our primary interest lies in how perspective-taking behavior and spatial cognition adapt to socially-driven information. To do so, we manipulate whether the participant shares the same social status as their assumed interaction partner. We report critical influences of social role on response choice and on the processing demands required to enact the response. Furthermore, we discuss these results in the context of our computational model, showing that simple socially-induced constraints can produce rich behavioral patterns.


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