Perspective Taking Essay

1819 Words 8 Pages
Perspective taking is a critical skill for children, along with parents to have as it allows for an individual to better understand and further interact with others around him/her. This skill allows for individuals to further separate their own feelings and opinions/thoughts from a situation at hand in order to tackle situations with less bias. Ross Thompson, from the University of California at Davis, emphasizes that perspective taking helps children make sense of their own and others’ experiences. Studies have also shown that children who learn perspective taking adjust better in kindergarten, and have a better understanding of what their teachers want and expect. Along with this, studies have also proven that there is a relationship between …show more content…
Although empathy is a key aspect, brain research shows that perspective taking is much more complex. Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) is a method used to map which parts of the brain are used when people think about others’ perspectives. While using the fMRI, a special part of the cortex lights up, along with other parts as well. This is not surprising, as perspective taking involves many different intellectual processes such as: of discerning how someone else thinks and feels; it requires assembling our accumulated knowledge of that person, analyzing the situation at hand, remembering similar situations, recalling what others have told us about such situations, putting aside our own feelings and thoughts, and trying to feel and think as another person must feel and think. Through this, there are three main executive functions that take place and impact perspective taking, which are: inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility, and reflection. Inhibitory control refers to the capability of restraining our own thoughts and feelings to understand the perspectives of others. Cognitive flexibility refers to our ability to view a situation in different ways. Lastly, reflection is being able to consider someone else’s thinking as well as our …show more content…
This was shown by Ross Thompson, who found that children who had trusting relationships with their parents were more capable of understanding others’ perspectives. For example, if a parent yells at a child for having a temper tantrum, the child does not feel understood. However, if the parent asks what is wrong, the child can explain themselves and understand if how they are acting is appropriate. This leads to another suggestion offered by Galinsky is to help children feel known and understood. When children with working parents were asked what they wanted the most from their parents, many responded along the lines of “understand me.” Especially in this day in age where parents do not know what is going on with their children, communication is especially important to feel understood. Without this communication, the lack of being understood could lead to a harder time connecting with others as an adult. In order to help infants feel understood, one can be attuned to their infants by imitating what they are doing, helping them understand that their parents know what they are doing. For older children, it is important to repeat back the child’s words, describe what you see going on, ask a question, and let them know that you have been in their situation. Once these children can explain themselves and

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