Perspective taking theory in interdisciplinary studies is being able to look a certain issue, problem, object, behavior, or phenomenon from the perspective of each of the disciplines involved and being able to see the similarities and differences between them. Cognitive psychologists have created a list of five important claims that are imperative to become interdisciplinary and being able to be productive and useful.
- “Perspective taking reduces the human tendency to negatively stereotype individuals and groups.” Keeping a negative stereotype of a person or group that is the subject of the study with definitely alter the interdisciplinary study and ruin the outcome.
- “Perspective taking helps to move us developmentally from a clear understanding of
the differences between disciplines and their perspectives to recognizing distinguishing characteristics of disciplines: the kinds of questions they ask and their rules of evidence.”
- “Perspective taking facilitates our ability to assemble new sets of potential solutions to a given problem.” When multiple disciplines come together and share their ideas, you can make creative solutions to problems.
- “Perspective taking heightens our awareness that we are biased in the direction of our own knowledge whether it comes from our life experience or prior academic training.” As interdisciplinarians, we need to understand our biases so we do not distort our analysis of the issue.
- “Perspective taking invites us to engage in role taking.” There are three aspects of perspective taking and each are applicable to interdisciplinary work:
- The first is to “accurately perceive how others see and understand the world.” This means to mentally step into the shoes of a specific role.
- The second is to “view a situation broadly from multiple perspectives.” This means that we, as interdisciplinarians, can’t have tunnel vision. We have to see from multiple angles and not just from a specific discipline’s standpoint.
- The third is to “perceive the other’s perspective in depth and have a full understanding of the other’s perspective.” Depth in interdisciplinary work means disciplinary depth. This is an especially important important skill for people in the humanities and the fine and performing arts because they need to completely understand the identity of another person.
This relates to my program because while learning French and Spanish cultures, I will need to think in their perspective in order to completely absorb their mindset and better understand them. If I didn’t think in their perspective, I would just assume that everyone is like an American, which is far from true.
Repko, A. F., Szostak, R. & Buchberger, M. P. (2014). Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
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