The Study of Perspective-Taking: Contributions from Mainstream Psychology and Behavior Analysis

  • Deirdre KavanaghEmail author
  • Yvonne Barnes-Holmes
  • Dermot Barnes-Holmes
Theoretical Article


The key purpose of this article is to provide a comprehensive overview of the literature on perspective-taking from within mainstream psychology and behavior analysis. The primary focus will be on the behavior-analytic approach to perspective-taking, which is divided into what may be described as (1) traditional behavior analysis; (2) an area within behavior analysis that is concerned specifically with human language and cognition, known as Relational Frame Theory (RFT); and (3) an updated version of RFT that is used to provide the beginnings of a detailed and systematic account of the processes involved in perspective-taking abilities.


Relational frame theory perspective-taking false belief behavioral processes 



This conceptual paper was prepared with the funding from the FWO Type 1 Odysseus program at Ghent University, Belgium.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Deirdre Kavanagh declares that she has no conflict of interest. Yvonne Barnes-Holmes declares that she has no conflict of interest. Dermot Barnes-Holmes declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals by any of the authors.


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© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Experimental, Clinical, and Health PsychologyGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

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