Cognitive Development: The different perceptual systems while undertaking point-of-view tasks

Jean Piaget had initially proposed that something akin to theory-of-mind develops in the children quite late and they have difficulty seeing things from another person’s perspective. The 2 most comment methods used to study this are false-belief tests and the sight-of-view-from-another-person’s-perspective tests.

A recent insightful article on Cognitive Daily elaborate on the recent work that has been done on the second theory-of-mind test viz. the-sight-of-view tests. Please do read the article for details and some pictures used in the actual experimental setup

To quote the end conclusion of the article (emphasis added):
Michelon and Zacks argue that these experiments offer substantial evidence that we use at least two different methods to understand the perspective of others. When we are trying to decide whether someone else can see what we can see, these experiments suggest that we use the line-tracing method, but when we’re trying to understand the relative positions of objects, we use the more cognitively demanding perspective-taking approach.

Now this conclusion when seen in the light of my earlier mails regarding Cognitive Maps and different models for Space like 3-D linear system, or R,theta,phi angular system induces one to stretch boundaries of analogies further and speculate that when one uses the Cartesian 3-D space metaphor, one may not necessarily need to put oneself in the place of another (as the origin in such systems are arbitrary) and one can trace the line from the other person to the target object and use trace-line mechanism to answer; but when one is forced to answer about left-right distinctions (that necessitate that if angular geometry is used then we have to distinguish between clockwise and anti-clockwise motion…and this may be with reference to origin…in most cases by ourselves as the origin), then the nature of task (making left-right distinctions) literally necessitate that one puts oneself in the place of the other person, and use angular geometry concepts to answer and this may take more time-to-respond as one has to literally rotate one’s frames of reference to align at the new origin (that of the other person).

Interesting line of thought and more evidence regarding the validity of Cognitive Map approach and conclusions derived from it.

Endgame: To give a linguistic twist (and include the determining sets concepts), would the distinction between right-wrong actions of a person require us to literally put in the other person’s shoe…and use angular geometry concepts?

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