Socio-cognitive training impacts emotional and perceptual self-salience but not self-other distinction


Training to inhibit imitative tendencies has been shown to reduce self-other interferences in both automatic imitation and perspective taking, suggesting that an enhancement of self-other distinction is transferrable from the motor to the cognitive domain. This study examined whether socio-cognitive training specifically enhances self-other distinction, or rather modulates self-salience, that is, the relative attentional priority of information pertaining to the self-perspective over information pertaining to the other person’s perspective. Across two experiments, participants trained on one day to either imitate, inhibit imitation, inhibit control stimuli, or they were imitated. On the following day they completed a visuo-tactile affective perspective-taking paradigm measuring both self-other distinction and emotional self-salience, and a shape matching paradigm measuring perceptual self-salience. Results indicate no significant or consistent impact of training on self-other distinction performance, but reveal an increased emotional and perceptual self-salience following training to inhibit imitative tendencies. Together, these findings raise the question whether socio-cognitive training improves performance via enhanced self-other distinction, and invite to consider self-salience as a complementary angle to explain the past, present, and future findings on self-other distinction.

Acta Psychologica
Magdalena Boch
Magdalena Boch
comparative social neuroscientist and psychologist