Social Perspective Taking

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Social Perspective Taking

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Title: Social Perspective Taking
Author: Roan, Linda; Strong, Beret; Foss, Paulette; Yager, Mark; Gehlbach, Hunter; Metcalf, Kimberly A.

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Citation: Roan, Linda, Beret Strong, Paulette Foss, Mark Yager, Hunter Gehlbach, and Kimberly A. Metcalf. September 2009. Social Perspective Taking (Technical Report 1259). Arlington, VA: U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences.
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Abstract: The current mindset of the Army is that it must be able to win our Nation’s wars while at the
same time ready to assist in stability operations (U.S. Department of the Army, 2008). A challenge is that Soldiers often have to
bridge large cultural gaps and may lack the language skills to effectively engage with the host of individuals now present in these
operations including the local populace, host nation security forces, coalition partners and other foreign governmental and
nongovernmental agencies. Perspective taking – described more formally as “Social Perspective Taking” (SPT) – is an
interpersonal technique which may address these challenges. SPT is a skill often learned throughout life but may be very difficult
in cross-cultural interactions. This report describes the results of a literature review and SME and Soldier interviews regarding
the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) needed to develop SPT and the methods used to train SPT. Based on this information
a four module curriculum is proposed which utilizes a four-step method for the development of SPT. The curriculum trains
Soldiers how to accurately consider the host-national’s perspective without cultural bias and erroneous assumptions and allows
Soldiers to meet host-national goals while accomplishing U.S. missions and objectives.
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