Investigating the Neural and Behavioral Association of Spatial, Cognitive, and Affective Perspective Taking
AdvisorChein, Jason M.
Committee memberMarshall, Peter J.
Olson, Ingrid R.
Shipley, Thomas F.
Chein, Jason M.
Affective perspective taking
Cognitive perspective taking
Spatial perspective taking
Theory of mind
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/8278
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AbstractPerspective taking (PT) is the ability to imagine perspectives that differ from our own. Understanding what others believe (cognitive PT) and feel (affective PT) allows us to better navigate social situations, and understanding what others see (spatial PT) allows us to better navigate spatial environments. Deficits in spatial, cognitive, and affective PT are apparent in several DSM–5 categorized clinical populations including autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and major depressive disorder (MDD). Further, differences in the severity of PT impairments may be related to general mechanisms that support this ability rather than diagnostic categories. However, the general cognitive mechanisms that support PT and whether spatial, cognitive, and affective PT share behavioral co-variance and rely on common neural mechanisms is not yet understood. There are at least two theoretical accounts regarding the association of spatial, cognitive, and affective PT. Common mechanisms accounts propose that the three types of PT are associated because all rely on manipulation of frame-of-reference representations coordinated by dorsal and ventral attentional networks. Alternative proposals suggest that attentional mechanisms support spatial PT, but cognitive and affective PT are supported by a distinct module for mental state reasoning. In this dissertation, I begin by summarizing prior evidence from studies which examined the developmental emergence of PT abilities, behavioral co-variance of PT in neurotypical and clinically diagnosed adults, and neuroimaging studies of PT. Review of the literature indicates mixed findings with support for both common and distinct mechanisms accounts. Thus, the present work probes the association of spatial, cognitive, and affective PT across two experiments. In Experiment 1, a systematic activation likelihood estimation meta-analysis of spatial, cognitive, and affective PT and attention switching was conducted. Results indicated no single neural region that was commonly associated with all three types of PT, but several overlapping regions among cognitive and affective PT, and separately among spatial PT and attention switching. In Experiment 2, two behavioral tasks and one self-report measure each of spatial, cognitive, and affective PT, a behavioral measure of attention and general reasoning ability were administered to large sample of young adults. Performance on spatial PT tasks did not significantly covary with cognitive PT, attention, nor two of the three affective PT measures in neurotypical adults. In sum, neural and behavioral experiments provided substantial support for distinct mechanisms accounts and only limited support for common mechanisms accounts of PT in neurotypical adults.
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