Empathic and non-empathic routes to visuospatial perspective-taking

Gronholm, P.C., Flynn, M., Edmonds, C.J. and Gardner, M. 2012. Empathic and non-empathic routes to visuospatial perspective-taking. Consciousness and Cognition. 21 (1), pp. 494-500.

TitleEmpathic and non-empathic routes to visuospatial perspective-taking
AuthorsGronholm, P.C., Flynn, M., Edmonds, C.J. and Gardner, M.
Abstract

The present study examined whether strategy moderated the relationship between visuospatial perspective-taking and empathy. Participants (N=96) undertook both a perspective-taking task requiring speeded spatial judgements made from the perspective of an observed figure and the Empathy Quotient questionnaire, a measure of trait empathy. Perspective-taking performance was found to be related to empathy in that more empathic individuals showed facilitated performance particularly for figures sharing their own spatial orientation. This relationship was restricted to participants that reported perspective-taking by mentally transforming their spatial orientation to align with that of the figure; it was absent in those adopting an alternative strategy of transposing left and right whenever confronted with a front-view figure. Our finding that strategy moderates the relationship between empathy and visuospatial perspective-taking enables a reconciliation of the apparently inconclusive findings of previous studies and provides evidence for functionally dissociable empathic and non-empathic routes to visuospatial perspective-taking.

JournalConsciousness and Cognition
Journal citation21 (1), pp. 494-500
ISSN1053-8100
Year2012
PublisherElsevier
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1016/j.concog.2011.12.004
Publication dates
Published2012

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