Executive function underlies both perspective selection and calculation in Level-1 visual perspective-taking

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Previous research has suggested that calculation of another’s perspective is cognitively efficient, while perspective selection (selection of a particular perspective, self or other) is associated with executive function, particularly inhibitory control. However, research has not previously tested how perspective calculation and selection may be associated with another key executive function, working memory. The current study (N = 54 adult participants) administered a Level-1 visual perspective task in a dual-task paradigm where the secondary task required working memory. Results suggest that executive function is associated with both perspective calculation and perspective selection, contrary to previous evidence from similar dual-task studies that used inhibitory control and attention-based secondary tasks. This contrast may suggest that working memory capacity facilitates perspective-taking. Furthermore, it may follow that the notion of simple perspective-taking is distinct from more complex and cognitively demanding 'theory of mind'. Research of this nature warrants further investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1526-1534
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin & Review
Issue number4
Early online date12 Jun 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Jun 2018


  • Visual perspective-taking
  • perspective calculation
  • perspective selection
  • theory of mind
  • executive function
  • dual-tasking


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