Perspective judgment across adulthood: Evidence from bilinguals

Dorit Segal, Gitit Kavé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Judging the perspective of others often requires ignoring one's own accessible knowledge. Aging increases reliance on the most available knowledge and may decrease the adjustment of this knowledge to adopt another perspective. Using a dominant language also decreases control demands, while using a nondominant language promotes deliberation. We examined whether aging and language dominance shape the way in which individuals judge someone else's interpretation of ambiguous messages. Russian-Hebrew bilinguals (N = 237, ages 19-80) read 20 ambiguous messages and judged how a recipient would interpret them. Half of the texts contained information that suggested that the message was sincere, and half of the texts contained information that implied that the message was sarcastic. This information was available only to the participant and should not have affected the recipient's interpretation. An egocentric bias emerged in both languages since participants could not ignore their own knowledge when judging the recipient's perspective. Aging was associated with a greater bias, but the results were similar in both languages. A second study included 60 younger (ages 18-39) and 62 older (ages 60-80) Israeli-born participants, who performed the same task as well as a flanker task (i.e., judging the direction of a central arrow flanked by congruent and incongruent distractors). Age interacted with the egocentric bias, but there was no correlation between the flanker effect and perspective judgment. Thus, decreased inhibition, as measured by the flanker task, cannot account for the egocentric bias. We suggest that the findings reflect difficulty in overriding highly accessible information, especially in older age. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2024 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-336
Number of pages13
JournalPsychology and Aging
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 May 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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