Observed bodies generate object-based spatial codes

Taylor, A., Flynn, M., Edmonds, C.J. and Gardner, M. 2016. Observed bodies generate object-based spatial codes. Acta Psychologica. 169, pp. 71-78.

TitleObserved bodies generate object-based spatial codes
AuthorsTaylor, A., Flynn, M., Edmonds, C.J. and Gardner, M.
Abstract

Contemporary studies of spatial and social cognition frequently use human figures as stimuli. The interpretation of such studies may be complicated by spatial compatibility effects that emerge when researchers employ spatial responses, and participants spontaneously code spatial relationships about an observed body. Yet, the nature of these spatial codes – whether they are location- or object-based, and coded from the perspective of the observer or the figure – has not been determined. Here, we investigated this issue by exploring spatial compatibility effects arising for objects held by a visually presented whole-bodied schematic human figure. In three experiments, participants responded to the colour of the object held in the figure’s left or right hand, using left or right key presses. Left-right compatibility effects were found relative to the participant’s egocentric perspective, rather than the figure’s. These effects occurred even when the figure was rotated by 90 degrees to the left or to the right, and the coloured objects were aligned with the participant’s midline. These findings are consistent with spontaneous spatial coding from the participant’s perspective and relative to the normal upright orientation of the body. This evidence for object-based spatial coding implies that the domain general cognitive mechanisms that result in spatial compatibility effects may contribute to certain spatial perspective-taking and social cognition phenomena.

KeywordsBody representation; Perspective taking; Own body transformation; Implicit Mentalising; Spatial compatibility; Simon effec
JournalActa Psychologica
Journal citation169, pp. 71-78
ISSN0001-6918
Year2016
PublisherElsevier
Accepted author manuscriptTaylor Acta Psychologica Author Accepted ms.pdf
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2016.05.009
Publication dates
Published online25 May 2016
Published in printSep 2016
Published25 May 2016

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