The structure of self–other overlap and its relationship to perspective taking

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Two studies tested whether “self–other overlap” is a multidimensional construct, with only some dimensions affected by perspective taking. In Study 1, participants (n = 132) completed several previously used measures of self–other overlap for their best friend and acquaintance. Factor analyses revealed 2 distinct dimensions of self–other overlap—perceived closeness and overlapping representations. Perceived closeness but not overlapping representations was generally associated with relationship quality. Study 2 (n = 118) manipulated perspective taking of a stranger. Results replicated a factor structure similar to Study 1, and found that perspective taking had different effects on the 2 dimensions of overlap. These results are discussed with regards to the debate over self–other overlap as a mediator of perspective taking's pro‐social effects.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2012

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