Faculty Books and Book Chapters

Perspective Taking Stages

Perspective Taking Stages

Book Title

Essays in Developmental Psychology


Randall Summers, Charles Golden, Lisa Lashley, & Erica Ailes


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Perspective taking is the ability to gain an understanding of how another person is thinking or feeling about an event based on the information which is available. Learning to understand the perspective of another person is an ability that develops over childhood through many stages. Typically, this concept is first grasped by school age, or around 6 to 7 years of age. There are multiple types of perspectives that can be taken as well, including physical or visual perspective, affective perspective, cognitive perspective, or perspective of communication. Each of these types is important for social behaviors and the ability to interact with and connect with other people. Perspective taking allows an individual to differentiate his or her own thoughts and feelings about an event from other people’s, which in turn, allows for an understanding of the presence of multiple opinions of events and topics. This differentiation also requires the understanding of first-person versus third-person perspective.


first-person versus third-person perspective, perspective taking, social behaviors, social standing, viewpoints

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This is one in a collection of essays as part of a project that began as an encyclopedia of developmental psychology coordinated by Dr. Randall Summers. However, for unforeseen reasons, the publisher was no longer in a position to publish the encyclopedia. This project was undertaken so that thousands of hours of work by psychologists would not go wasted. Enjoy these essays and feel free to cite them using the proper format.

Submit suggestions for corrections and topics to goldench@nova.edu.

Perspective Taking Stages