Developmental changes in the embodied self of spatial perspective taking

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Abstract

Spatial perspective taking consists of mental self-rotation and other cognitive information processing. Mental self-rotation is a process of rotating an embodied representational self through mental simulation of the sensorimotor mechanisms underlying actual self-movement. It was predicted that physical development would affect the operation of the representational self. One hundred and twenty-five individuals aged 5–80 years (57 children, 35 students, and 33 elderly people) executed a video game task of spatial perspective taking in three conditions of sensorimotor activation: A restrained, stable, and unstable condition. In the linear function formulas considering the degree of rotation and response times, the gradient represented the theoretical speed of mental self-rotation and the intercept represented other cognitive processing. A significant interaction was found between age group and condition on the gradients, indicating that the response times in the unstable condition were faster than in the other conditions for the children, the restrained condition was slower than the other conditions for the students, while no difference was found for the elderly adults. The results suggest that the influence of sensorimotor activation on the embodied representational self depends on developmental changes in physical control.

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