BALTIMORE, July 27 (UPI) -- People who are socially skilled are more proficient when it comes to being empathetic, or putting themselves in someone else's shoes, U.S. researchers suggest.
Study leader Amy Shelton, a professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences at Johns Hopkins University, says the more socially accomplished a person is, the easier it is for him or her to assume another person's perspective.
"The results were striking: There was a profound difference in this ability among people with better social skills and those with weaker ones," Shelton says in a statement.
The researchers also had men and women who view a model of buildings constructed from Legos. A series of seven figures -- some 13-inch faceless "dolls," some toy cameras and some colored plastic triangles arrayed around a building model.
Participants then viewed images on laptop computers, each of which corresponded to the would-be visual perspective of one of the figures -- dolls, cameras, triangles -- and were asked which figure could "see" that view of the buildings displayed on the computer screen.
The study, published online in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, found that the more socially accomplished a person is, the easier it is for him or her to assume another person's perspective and more proficient they are when it comes to spatial skills.
In addition, there was a strong correlation between overall social acumen and the study subjects' accuracy in taking the perspective of the figures only when the figures were dolls -- not when the figures were the toy cameras or triangles.