Self/other differentiation based on present VS past tense cues in Turkish culture
The literature provides various studies that showed human beings’ implicit awareness of their own and others’ mental states (i.e., implicit Theory of Mind, ToM abilities). However, how much these implicit processes are qualitatively different from the explicit ToM abilities is an open question to investigate. To explore this issue, Bradford et al. (2015; 2018) conducted a study that showed it was easier for adults to adopt “self” perspectives than “other” perspectives. Importantly, participants found shifting from other- to self-oriented perspectives easier than shifting from self- to other. Bradford et al. concluded that self-oriented mental states might be automatically processed when thinking about others but that other-oriented mental state attribution requires consciously controlled processes. In the current study, we explored whether the task demands from Bradford et al.’s study affect participants’ performances across shifting conditions. Self-oriented perspectives might be always processed faster than other-oriented perspectives because they might include more concrete cues (e.g., past and personal experiences). To provide more concrete cues for the other-oriented perspective questions, participants were presented with Bradford et al.’s paradigm using the Turkish past-tense with the direct evidential marker, -DI. This manipulation allowed investigating whether other-oriented perspectives could be processed as fast as self-oriented perspectives. In order to also investigate the impact of cultural factors on the participants’ performances, an Individuals-Collectivism survey was included. The results of the study showed similar findings with Bradford et al. (2015; 2018) in that participants more easily shifted from other- to self-oriented perspectives compared to self- to other-oriented perspectives. The results were discussed based on the current approaches (i.e., lean, middle-ground, and rich accounts) to social cognition.