Perspective-taking in dialogue as self-organization under social constraints

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


We present a dynamical systems account of how simple social information influences perspective-taking. Our account is motivated by the notion that perspective-taking may obey common dynamic principles with perceptuomotor coupling. We turn to the prominent HKB dynamical model of motor coordination, drawing from basic principles of self-organization to describe how conversational perspective-taking unfolds in a low-dimensional attractor landscape. We begin by simulating experimental data taken from a simple instruction-following task, in which participants have different expectations about their interaction partner. By treating belief states as different values of a control parameter, we show that data generated by a basic dynamical process fits overall egocentric and other-centric response distributions, the time required for participants to enact a response on a trial-by-trial basis, and the action dynamics exhibited in individual trials. We end by discussing the theoretical significance of dynamics in dialog, arguing that high-level coordination such as perspective-taking may obey similar dynamics as perceptuomotor coordination, pointing to common principles of adaptivity and flexibility during dialog.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-146
Number of pages16
JournalNew Ideas in Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Communication
  • Dynamical systems
  • Language
  • Perspective-taking
  • Spatial cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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