The spontaneity of Level-1 visual perspective taking: under the condition of multiple avatars
Abstract: The spontaneity of Level-1 visual perspective taking has been widely discussed in the field of visual perspective taking. Many studies have confirmed that Level-1 visual perspective taking is spontaneously activated, but this finding has mainly been observed in the context of a single avatar’s presence. Scenarios involving two or more avatars have received scant attention. Specifically, no suitable experimental paradigm has been developed for situations with multiple avatars in this domain. Therefore, the paradigm adapted from those employed by Samson et al. (2010) and Mattan et al. (2015) was used in this study. The stimuli of virtual scenes were modeled by 3D Max, and the experimental procedures were programmed by E-Prime, recording the accuracy rate and reaction time. In contrast to previous studies, this paper explores whether and how the multiple avatars affect the process of Level-1 visual perspective taking, and clarifies the influencing factors by varying the conditions.
This study comprises three experiments. In Experiment 1, the paradigm adapted from the classic “dot-perspective task” was employed to investigate whether participants would spontaneously compute another perspective in the presence of a single avatar (target avatar). In Experiment 2, an additional avatar (irrelevant avatar) is introduced to explore how the consistency in the number of dots seen by the avatars would affect the perspective-taking process. Subsequently, Experiment 3 excluded the influence of the consistency in the number of dots seen by the avatars and investigated whether consistency in the line of sight would impact the presence of multiple avatars.
Based on the results from these three experiments, the conclusions drawn are as follows:
(1) The adapted paradigm proved to be feasible, successfully replicating the results of previous studies: which indicated that Level-1 visual perspective taking was spontaneously activated in the presence of a single avatar. The perspectives of the self and the avatar mutually interfered with each other. For self-perspective judging trials, the avatar’s perspective was spontaneously activated, leading to altercentric intrusion, and conversely, egocentric intrusion could occur.
(2) In the presence of multiple avatars, the Level-1 visual perspective-taking process remained spontaneous. Furthermore, the consistency in the number of objects seen by avatars resulted in a group-perspective effect, especially during self-perspective judgments. When the number of objects seen by the participant and the target avatar was consistent, the group perspective had a positive impact on the judgment. Conversely, if there was an inconsistency, it would impede the judgment process.
(3) When the number of objects seen by avatars was set to be inconsistent, the consistency of the line of sight could still capture the participants’ attention to both avatars. This situation leads to interference from the perspective of the irrelevant avatar, further influencing the spontaneity of Level-1 visual perspective taking, whether it was judged from the perspective of the self or the avatar.
In summary, perspective computation occurs effortlessly, flexibly, and spontaneously in scenarios involving multiple avatars, whether considering the perspective of a target or irrelevant avatar. The outcomes of perspective taking can either enhance or impede the performance in dot-perspective tasks, depending on the relationship among the “self, target avatar, and irrelevant avatar”, while exhibiting distinctive performance traits based on the specific situation.