Putting oneself in another's shoes: do we really do that and when do we do it?
We recently showed that when we compute "how" an object is seen by someone else (level 2 visual perspective taking), we use an embodied mental rotation of our body, literally imagining ourselves in the other person's shoes. We do not use such mental rotation processes to solve all perspective taking problems however. For exemple, we do not use it when we simply compute whether an object is visible to someone else or not (level 1 visual perspective taking). These findings were published in two recent articles, one in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 2013 and one in Cognition 2013.
We further showed that, while level 1 visual perspective taking occurs spontaneously in many situations, level 2 visual perspective taking only occurs spontaneously if we are engaged in an interactive task with someone else. These findings were published in two recent articles, both in Cognition: 2015 and 2016.