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Q J Exp Psychol (Hove). 2017 Jun;70(6):1033-1052. doi: 10.1080/17470218.2015.1127399. Epub 2016 Mar 16.

Prioritization of self-relevant perspectives in ageing.

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a School of Psychology , University of Birmingham , Birmingham , UK.
b Department of Psychology , DePaul University , Chicago , IL , USA.


This study investigated whether age-related sensitivity to self-relevance may benefit perspective taking, despite generally poorer perspective-taking capacity in older adults. In one perceptual matching task and two visual perspective-taking paradigms, we examined age differences in sensitivity to avatars representing self and other. In the matching task, older (60-83 years) and younger (18-20 years) adults were similarly biased toward the self- versus other-associated avatar. In the perspective-taking tasks, participants viewed these avatars within a virtual room. Task-relevant perspectives were either the same (i.e., congruent) or different (i.e., incongruent). In the 3PP-3PP task, both avatars were present, and participants adopted the perspective of one or the other. As in the matching task, young and old were similarly biased toward the self-associated avatar. However, age differences emerged in the 1PP-3PP task, which presented only one avatar per trial (varying between self and other), and participants responded based on their own first-person perspective or the avatar's. In summary, age modulated the ability to take perspectives primarily when participants' own first-person perspective was task relevant. Relative to younger adults, older adults prioritized the self (vs. other) avatar more during initial perspective computation and the first-person (vs. third-person) perspective more when selecting between incongruent perspectives.


First-person versus third-person; Self-prioritization; Self-tagging; Social–cognitive ageing; Visual perspective taking

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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