Collaborating in Spatial Tasks: Partners Adapt the Perspective of Their Descriptions, Coordination Strategies, and Memory Representations

  • Alexia Galati
  • Marios N. Avraamides
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7463)


The partner’s viewpoint influences spatial descriptions and, when strongly emphasized, spatial memories as well. We examined whether partner-specific information affects the representations people spontaneously construct, the description strategies they spontaneously select, and the representations their collaborating partner constructs based on these descriptions. Directors described to a misaligned Matcher arrays learned while either knowing the Matcher’s viewpoint or not. Knowing the Matcher’s viewpoint led to distinctive processing in spatial judgments and a rotational bias in array drawings. Directors’ descriptions reflected strategic choices, suggesting that partners considered each other’s computational demands. Such strategies were effective as reflected by the number of conversational turns partners took to coordinate. Matchers represented both partners’ viewpoints in memory, with the Directors’ descriptions predicting the facilitated perspective. Thus, partners behave contingently in spatial tasks to optimize their coordination: the availability of the partner’s viewpoint influences one’s memory and description strategies, which in turn influence the partner’s memory.


perspective-taking coordination spatial memory dialogue 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Avraamides, M.N., Kelly, J.W.: Multiple systems of spatial memory: evidence from described scenes. J. Exp. Psychol. Learn. Mem. Cogn. 36, 635–645 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Brennan, S.E.: How conversation is shaped by visual and spoken evidence. In: Trueswell, J., Tanenhaus, M. (eds.) Approaches to Studying World-Situated Language Use: Bridging the Language-as-Product and Language-Action Traditions, pp. 95–129. MIT Press, Cambridge (2004)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Carlson-Radvansky, L.A., Irwin, D.E.: Frames of reference in vision and language: Where is above? Cogn. 46, 223–244 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Carlson-Radvansky, L.A., Logan, G.D.: The influence of reference frame selection on spatial template construction. J. Mem. Lang. 37, 411–437 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Clark, H.H.: Using language. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Clark, H.H., Brennan, S.E.: Grounding in communication. In: Resnick, L., Levine, J., Teasley, S. (eds.) Perspectives on Socially Shared Cognition, pp. 127–149. APA Books, Washington, DC (1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Clark, H.H., Krych, M.: Speaking while monitoring addressees for understanding. J. Mem. Lang. 50, 62–81 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Clark, H.H., Wilkes-Gibbs, D.: Referring as a collaborative process. Cogn. 22, 1–39 (1986)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Duran, N.D., Dale, R., Kreuz, R.J.: Listeners invest in an assumed other’s perspective despite cognitive cost. Cogn. 121, 22–40 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Friedman, A., Kohler, B.: Bidimensional regression: Assessing the configural similarity and accuracy of cognitive maps and other two-dimensional data sets. Psychol. Methods 8, 468–491 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Galati, A., Michael, C., Greenauer, N., Mello, C., Avraamides, M.N.: How the conversational partner affects spatial memory and spatial descriptions. Talk given at the 17th European Society for Cognitive Psychology (ESCOP), Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain (2011)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hölscher, C., Tenbrink, T., Wiener, J.M.: Would you follow your own route description? Cognitive strategies in urban route planning. Cogn. 121, 228–247 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Horton, W.S., Gerrig, R.J.: Conversational common ground and memory processes in language production. Discourse Process. 40, 1–35 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Isaacs, E.A., Clark, H.H.: References in conversations between experts and novices. J. Exp. Psychol. Gen. 116, 26–37 (1987)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kelly, J.W., Avraamides, M.N., Loomis, J.M.: Sensorimotor alignment effects in learning and novel environments. J. Exp. Psychol. Learn. Mem. Cogn. 33, 1092–1107 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    McNamara, T.P.: How Are the Locations of Objects in the Environment Represented in Memory? In: Freksa, C., Brauer, W., Habel, C., Wender, K.F. (eds.) Spatial Cognition III. LNCS (LNAI), vol. 2685, pp. 174–191. Springer, Heidelberg (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Metzing, C., Brennan, S.E.: When conceptual pacts are broken: Partner-specific effects in the comprehension of referring expressions. J. Mem. Lang. 49, 201–213 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Mou, W., Zhang, K., McNamara, T.P.: Frames of Reference in Spatial Memories Acquired from Language. J. Exp. Psychol. Learn. Mem. Cogn. 30, 171–180 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Mou, W., McNamara, T.P., Valiquette, C.M., Rump, B.: Allocentric and egocentric updating of spatial memories. J. Exp. Psychol. Learn. Mem. Cogn. 30, 142–157 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Newman-Norlund, S.E., Noordzij, M.L., Newman-Norlund, R.D., Volman, I.A.C., de Ruiter, J.P., Hagoort, P., Toni, I.: Recipient design in tacit communication. Cogn. 111, 46–54 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Özyürek, A.: Do speakers design their co-speech gestures for their addressees? The effects of addressee location on representational gestures. J. Mem. Lang. 46, 688–704 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Schober, M.F.: Spatial perspective-taking in conversation. Cogn. 47, 1–24 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Schober, M.F.: Speakers, addressees, and frames of reference: Whose effort is minimized in conversations about location? Discourse Process. 20, 219–247 (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Schober, M.F.: Different kinds of conversational perspective-taking. In: Fussell, S.R., Kreuz, R.J. (eds.) Social and Cognitive Psychological approaches to Interpersonal Communication, pp. 145–174. Lawrence Erlbaum, Mahwah (1998)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Schober, M.F.: Spatial dialogue between partners with mismatched abilities. In: Conventry, K.R., Tenbrink, T., Bateman, J.A. (eds.) Spatial Language and Dialogue, pp. 23–39. Oxford University Press, Oxford (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Shelton, A.L., McNamara, T.P.: Spatial memory and perspective taking. Mem. Cogn. 32, 416–426 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Taylor, H.A., Tversky, B.: Descriptions and depictions of environments. Mem. Cogn. 20, 483–496 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexia Galati
    • 1
  • Marios N. Avraamides
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CyprusNicosiaCyprus

Personalised recommendations