Interacting Timescales in Perspective-Taking


Through theoretical discussion, literature review, and a computational model, this paper poses a challenge to the notion that perspective-taking involves a fixed architecture in which particular processes have priority. For example, some research suggests that egocentric perspectives can arise more quickly, with other perspectives (such as of task partners) emerging only secondarily. This theoretical dichotomy–between fast egocentric and slow other-centric processes–is challenged here. We propose a general view of perspective-taking as an emergent phenomenon governed by the interplay among cognitive mechanisms that accumulate information at different timescales. We first describe the pervasive relevance of perspective-taking to cognitive science. A dynamical systems model is then introduced that explicitly formulates the timescale interaction proposed. This model illustrates that, rather than having a rigid time course, perspective-taking can be fast or slow depending on factors such as task context. Implications are discussed, with ideas for future empirical research.

Frontiers in Psychology