Recent research propounds that people who make social connections easily are more likely to develop spatial skills.
The study found that the more socially accomplished a person is, the easier it is for him or her to assume another person's perspective (literally) on the world.
"The results were striking: there was a profound difference in this ability among people with better social skills and those with weaker ones," said study leader Amy Shelton, a professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences.
In the study, 48 men and women ages 18 to 22 viewed a model of buildings constructed from LEGOs. A series of seven figures (one time it was 13" faceless "dolls," a second time it was toy cameras and a third time it was colored plastic triangles) was arrayed around the 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 critical finding was that 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, and not when the figures were the toy cameras or triangles.
According to Shelton, these results suggest that a person's ability to take another person's spatial perspective may be related to things such as empathy, or even tolerance for another's belief system.
The study was recently published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.