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Exchanging Social Positions: Enhancing perspective taking within a cooperative problem solving task

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

  • Alex Gillespie
  • Beth Richardson
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>08/2011
<mark>Journal</mark>European Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number5
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)608-616
<mark>Original language</mark>English


When people occupy different social positions within a cooperative task they experience discrepant role and situation demands and thus have divergent perspectives. The reported research predicts that exchanging social positions within a cooperative task can overcome divergences of perspective. This prediction was tested in two experiments using the Communication Conflict Situation. The first experiment (n = 88) found that position exchange increased the ability of dyads to solve a communication conflict arising through discrepant perspectives. The second experiment (n = 120) found that the effect of position exchange exceeds that of purely cognitive perspective taking, thus suggesting that it cannot be reduced to a purely cognitive process. Exchanging social positions is a newly identified and powerful social mechanism through which perspective taking, within a cooperative task, can be enhanced.