Imagined own-body transformations during passive self-motion
Spatial perspective taking is a crucial social skill that underlies many of our everyday interactions. Previous studies have suggested that spatial perspective taking is an embodied process that involves the integration of both motor and proprioceptive information. Given the importance of vestibular signals for own-body perception, mental own-body imagery, and bodily self-consciousness, in the present study we hypothesized that vestibular stimulation due to passive own-body displacements should also modulate spatial perspective taking. Participants performed an own-body transformation task while being passively rotated in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction on a human motion platform. A congruency effect was observed, reflected in faster reaction times if the implied mental body rotation direction matched the actual rotation direction of the chair. These findings indicate that vestibular stimulation modulates and facilitates mental perspective taking, thereby highlighting the importance of integrating multisensory bodily information for spatial perspective taking.