Why do speakers mix perspectives? *

Barbara Tversky, Paul Lee, Scott Mainwaring
1999 Spatial Cognition and Computation   unpublished
Although considerations of discourse coherence and cognitive processing suggest that communicators should adopt consistent perspectives when describing spatial scenes, in many cases they switch perspectives. Ongoing research examining cognitive costs indicates that these are small and exacted in establishing a mental model of a scene but not in retrieving information from a well-known scene. A perspective entails a point of view, a referent object, and terms of reference. These may change
more » ... a perspective, exacting cognitive costs, so that the costs of switching perspective may not be greater than the costs of maintaining the same perspective. Another project investigating perspective choice for self and other demonstrates effects of salience of referent object and ease of terms of reference. Perspective is mixed not just in verbal communications but also in pictorial ones, suggesting that at times, switching perspective is more effective than maintaining a consistent one.