Is it always me first? Effects of self-tagging on third-person perspective-taking

Bradley Mattan, Kimberly A. Quinn, Ian A. Apperly, Jie Sui, Pia Rotshtein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Self-relevant information is associated with facilitation of perceptual and memory processes. In 2 experiments, participants verified the number of dots within a virtual room that were visible to a given perspective, corresponding to participants' own first-person perspectives or the third-person perspectives for self- and other-associated avatars. Perspectives were either congruent or incongruent with respect to the number of dots visible to each. In Experiment 1, we examined perspective taking for self- and other-associated avatars relative to one another; both avatars appeared simultaneously in the virtual room, and participants made judgments based on the prompted avatar's perspective. In Experiment 2, we examined perspective taking for each avatar relative to the first-person perspective; only 1 avatar was visible in the virtual room (Self or Other, varying by trial), and participants made judgments based on their first-person view or the avatar's perspective. Experiment 2 also included a replication of the third-person paradigm used in Experiment 1. Results from Experiment 1 (replicated in Experiment 2) demonstrated an advantage for judgments of the Self (vs. Other) avatar's perspective; both avatars elicited reliable interference effects of similar magnitude. Results from Experiment 2 further demonstrated that participants prioritized the first-person (vs. third-person) perspective, and that the presence of the Self (vs. Other) avatar improved performance for the first- and third-person perspectives when those perspectives were congruent. Taken together, these findings suggest that self-relevant perspectives are prioritized when they are actively engaged and when they can be subsumed within the first-person view. Such prioritization appears to occur by strategic means.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1100-1117
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 American Psychological Association.


  • First person
  • Perspective taking
  • Self-other distinction
  • Self-tagging
  • Third person

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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