8-5-11: Can You See What I See?

August 5, 2011 at 8:00 am 2 comments

Hopkins professor Amy Shelton talks with Sheilah about how social skills can help you better take on another's point of view, literally. (Or--how can you put yourself in the point of view of the wooden man?) Photo by Stephanie Hughes

Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.  It’s a saying that has to do with perspective – don’t judge a person until you understand where he’s coming from.

The saying isn’t meant to be taken literally — no one really expects you to put on another person’s shoes.  But a new study from Johns Hopkins finds that the ability to take on another person’s perspective metaphorically is linked to the ability to take on another perspective literally.  It was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology last week, and is called “Should social savvy equal good spatial skills? The interaction of social skills with spatial perspective taking.”

The findings indicate that people who are skilled at social situations may also be more adept at orienting themselves spatially.  They think this may eventually lead to improved strategies to help people with autism, who generally lack social skills.

Sheilah discusses this with the lead author of the study, Amy Shelton, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at Johns Hopkins University.  She works in the Spatial Cognition Lab there.

In this web extra, you can listen to more of the conversation on perspective here:


Entry filed under: Health, On Air. Tags: , , , , .

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Susan Detwiler  |  August 5, 2011 at 9:41 am

    I was fascinated by this discussion, and I thank you both. As a children’s book illustrator, point of view and perspective are aspects of composition that I must pay attention to, and as a mother, I consider empathy to be the most important lesson one can teach.

  • 2. paris kern  |  August 5, 2011 at 9:50 am

    I cannot find the article
    “Should social savvy equal good spatial skills? The interaction of social skills with spatial perspective taking.” when I click on the link.
    Please help!


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