Visuospatial transformations and personality: evidence of a relationship between visuospatial perspective taking and self-reported emotional empathy

Valentina Sulpizio, Giorgia Committeri, Emilia Metta, Simon Lambrey, Alain Berthoz, Gaspare Galati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In the visuospatial domain, perspective taking is the ability to imagine how a visual scene appears from an external observer’s viewpoint, and can be studied by asking subjects to encode object locations in a visual scene where another individual is present and then detecting their displacement when seeing the scene from the other’s viewpoint. In the current study, we explored the relationship between visuospatial perspective taking and self-report measures of the cognitive and emotional components of empathy in young adults. To this aim, we employed a priming paradigm, in which the presence of an avatar allowed to anticipate the next perceived perspective on the visual scene. We found that the emotional dimension of empathy was positively correlated with the behavioral advantage provided by the presence of the avatar, relative to unprimed perspective changes. These data suggest a link between the tendency to vicariously experience the others’ emotions and the ability to perform self–other spatial transformations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2091-2102
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Volume233
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 17 2015

Keywords

  • Empathy
  • Mental transformations
  • Personality traits
  • Perspective taking
  • Spatial memory
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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