Social and representational cues jointly influence spatial perspective-taking
Avraamides, Marios N.
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We examined how social cues (the conversational partner's viewpoint) and representational ones (the intrinsic structure of a spatial layout) jointly shape people's spatial memory representations and their subsequent descriptions. In 24 pairs, Directors studied an array with a symmetrical structure while either knowing their Matcher's subsequent viewpoint or not. During the subsequent description of the array, the array's intrinsic structure was aligned with the Director, the Matcher, or neither partner. According to memory tests preceding descriptions, Directors who had studied the array while aligned with its structure were more likely to use its orientation as an organizing direction. Directors who had studied the array while misaligned with its structure used its orientation more frequently as an organizing orientation when knowing that the Matcher would be aligned with it, but used their own viewpoint more frequently as an organizing direction when not knowing the Matcher's viewpoint. Directors also adapted their descriptions strategically, using more egocentric expressions when aligned with the intrinsic structure and more partner-centered expressions when their Matchers were the ones aligned with the structure, even when this information wasn't available in advance. These findings suggest that speakers are guided by converging social and representational cues to adapt flexibly the organization of their memories and the perspectives of their descriptions. © 2014 Cognitive Science Society, Inc.