Effect of embodied perspective on the sensory-level processing of self-relevant information

Authors: He, X., Iglesias Yanes, A., McGlasson, G. and Hassan, S.

Conference: Experimental Psychology Society Meeting

Dates: 2 July 2020


It is well established that information relevant to the self is better processed than other information when people learn to associate shapes with identity labels in a perceptual matching task. Recently, it was found that this self-bias was stronger when the identity-related stimulus was presented in the first-person (embodied) perspective than in the third-person perspective (Sun et al., 2016). However, it remained unclear whether this modulation of self-bias by perspective reflected a sensory-level process. The current study addressed this question using event-related potentials (ERPs) and the perceptual matching paradigm, presenting two top-view avatars facing each other along with an identity label (“you”, “friend”, or “stranger”). The behavioural data replicated the self-bias as higher accuracies and shorter reaction times, but found no effect of perspective. This self-bias was also found in a stronger sensory-level P1 component, with the maximal effect over the midline occipital area around 100ms post-stimulus. In comparison to the third-person perspective, the first-person perspective resulted in enhancement of all ERP components before 200ms. This enhancement, however, did not significantly differ across identity conditions. These results suggest that embodied perspective enhances identity-related processing at the sensory level, and that this benefit is not specific to the self-identity.

Source: Manual