Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Reading: Yours, Mine, Ours: When You And I Share Perspectives

Date:
February 19, 2009
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
While reading a novel, why do we imagine scenes differently -- when do we view the action from an outsider's perspective and when do we place ourselves in the main character's shoes? The results of a new study, reported in Psychological Science, indicate that we use different perspectives, depending on which pronouns are used.

While reading a novel, as the author describes the main character washing dishes or cooking dinner, we will often create a mental image of someone in the kitchen performing these tasks. Sometimes we may even imagine ourselves as the dishwasher or top chef in these scenarios. Why do we imagine these scenes differently - when do we view the action from an outsider's perspective and when do we place ourselves in the main character's shoes?

Related Articles


Psychologist Tad T. Brunye from the US Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) and Tufts University, along with Tali Ditman, Caroline R. Mahoney and Holly A. Taylor from Tufts University and Jason S. Augustyn from the US Army NSRDEC, investigated how pronouns can influence the way we imagine events being described.

In these experiments, volunteers read sentences describing everyday actions. The statements were expressed in either first- ("I am..."), second- ("You are...") or third-person ("He is..."). Volunteers then looked at pictures and had to indicate whether the images matched the sentences they had read. The pictures were presented in either an internal (i.e. as though the volunteer was performing the event him/herself) or external (i.e. as though the volunteer was observing the event) perspective.

The results, reported in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, indicate that we use different perspectives, depending on which pronouns are used. When the volunteers read statements that began, "You are..." they pictured the scene through their own eyes. However, when they read statements explicitly describing someone else (for example, sentences that began, "He is...") then they tended to view the scene from an outsider's perspective. Even more interesting was what the results revealed about first-person statements (sentences that began, "I am..."). The perspective used while imagining these actions depended on the amount of information provided - the volunteers who read only one first-person sentence viewed the scene from their point of view while the volunteers who read three first-person sentences saw the scene from an outsider's perspective.

The researchers note that "these results provide the first evidence that in all cases readers mentally simulate described objects and events, but only embody an actor's perspective when directly addressed as the subject of a sentence." The authors suggest that when we read second-person statements ("You are..."), there is a greater sense of "being there" and this makes it easier to place ourselves in the scene being described, imagining it from our point of view.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Brunyé et al. When You and I Share Perspectives: Pronouns Modulate Perspective Taking During Narrative Comprehension. Psychological Science, 2009; 20 (1): 27 DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02249.x

Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Reading: Yours, Mine, Ours: When You And I Share Perspectives." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090218135124.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2009, February 19). Reading: Yours, Mine, Ours: When You And I Share Perspectives. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090218135124.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Reading: Yours, Mine, Ours: When You And I Share Perspectives." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090218135124.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) — In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) — A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) — Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Yoga Could Be As Beneficial For The Heart As Walking, Biking

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) — Yoga can help your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and heart just as much as biking and walking does, a new study suggests. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins