Not so close encounters of the third kind: Visual perspective and imagined social interaction

Lynden Miles, Brittany M. Christian, Nomita Masilamani, Luiza Volpi, C. Neil Macrae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Via mental simulation, future previews have been shown to optimize behavioral selection and enhance task performance. Yet littleis known about the critical factors that determine exactly how and when imagination impacts behavior. Noting the theoreticalimportance of vantage point (i.e., field vs. observer perspective) during mental imagery, here we explored the possibility thatspatial visual perspective influences the real-time behavioral correlates of simulated (i.e., imagined) events. Participants wereinstructed to imagine positive and negative social encounters from either a field or an observer vantage point. Throughout eachimagined interaction, postural movement in the anterioposterior (i.e., front–back) plane served as a real-time index of approach–withdrawal behavior. The results revealed that mental simulations were accompanied by functionally adaptive behavior (i.e.,approach or withdrawal) but only when events were imagined from a field perspective. The theoretical and practical implicationsof these findings are considered.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)558-565
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Volume5
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

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