*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


In spite of the fact that perspective-taking leads to a variety of pro-social outcomes, such as reduced stereotyping,
increased empathy, and is important for navigating the social world, even healthy adults frequently are
prone to perspective-taking errors. For example, healthy adults from nonclinical samples frequently misinterpret
what another person is thinking, falsely assume that other people share the same knowledge that they do,
and are biased in their attributions of the mental states that drive people’s behaviors.
According to scientific observations, social working memory (SWM), or the ability to maintain and manipulate
social cognitive information in mind, may be a basic mechanism that if trained, improves adult’s perspective-
taking accuracy. This possibility originated from three relevant observations. First, research in social
psychology finds that perspective-taking requires cognitive resources, such as working memory resources.
Second, social cognitive neuroscience researches show that working memory demands, stemmed from perspective-
taking, rely particularly on SWM neural mechanism. For example, SWM neural responses (but not
nonsocial or cognitive working memory [CWM] neural responses) predict perspective-taking accuracy on the
director’s task, in which participants must consider another person’s point of view in order to derive a correct
answer. Third, training CWM (for example, the amount of objects that can be maintained in memory) has
shown performance improvement on related cognitive task, such as those assessing reading and math ability.
For assessing this hypothesis we developed a SWM training intervention based on the only previous research
(Meyer and Lieberman, 2016). Participants were randomly assigned to complete 10 days of either SWM or
nonsocial CWM training (for active control group). Perspective-taking accuracy was assessed by pre- and
post-training (For assessment of perspective-taking we use Perspective Taking/Spatial Orientation Test which
is developed by Mary Hegarty, Maria Kozhevnikov, and David Waller).
SWM training significantly increased perspective taking accuracy and these improvements exceeded the improvements
which were made by participants who were under CWM training. Ten days of performance-based
computer-adaptive SWM training, (vs. CWM training) significantly improved director task accuracy on trials
that required considering another person’s perspective during communication. Based on the findings, SWM
training could be a useful and efficient way for boosting perspective-taking accuracy.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2017
Event7th International Conference of Cognitive Science - Tehran, Iran, Islamic Republic of
Duration: 30 Apr 20174 May 2017


Conference7th International Conference of Cognitive Science
Country/TerritoryIran, Islamic Republic of


  • Perspective-taking
  • social working memory
  • cognitive working memory


Dive into the research topics of 'ENHANCING PERSPECTIVE-TAKING ACCURACY THROUGH SOCIAL WORKING MEMORY TRAINING'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this