We're all flying drones here in the office right now.

When a drone is facing us, we have to press left to go right, so we got into a discussion about how we have to imagine ourselves in the "pilot's seat" for our muscle memory to react and move in the correct direction. It doesn't seem like "putting oneself in another's shoes," as it's seems more specific or relevant to spatial awareness. Is there a word or phrase for this?

Edit: I'm not looking for synonyms for perspective, point of view, or anything like that. I'm looking for the name of the ability to do it. As an example, "spatial awareness" covers your ability to be aware of your own self in your surroundings. I'm looking for something that covers any external reference point or perspective.

It's like a combination between spatial awareness and theory of mind.

  • Maybe something like 'projective competence'?
    – JEL
    Jan 8, 2016 at 22:40
  • 1
    The real question I have is "Is your company hiring?".
    – The Nate
    Jan 9, 2016 at 3:53
  • +1 for The Nate. Are you guys back in the office yet? How about "directable omniscience"? Jan 9, 2016 at 14:41
  • What does 'Theory of mind' mean?
    – Daron
    Jan 9, 2016 at 15:14

3 Answers 3


How 'bout calling it a perspective shift or shifting your perspective into the drone?

Shift: To transfer or move, as from one person, place, or position to another: as, to shift the blame; to shift one's quarters; to shift the load to the other shoulder.

The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

It's a bit of an equivocal phrase unfortunately, particularly since shifting is also used in literal reference to a change in modalities and any mere movement among other interpretations too. An example is that metaphorically this word combination is often used for changing your "personal outlook" on various manners in order to feel better about things and solve problems, as you might be able to see from the tag on the Huffington Post's website..

However, in the quoted sense this still literally describes what is happening quite well. I think the context should make the intended sense of a spatial shift of perspective relatively clear due to the general inapplicability of the the word's other meanings.


Standpoint is probably the most accurate

the point or place at which a person stands to view something.

But viewpoint would also work

a place affording a view of something; position of observation

Both are defined as being spatial and mental, i.e.,

an attitude of mind, or the circumstances of an individual that conduce to such an attitude


There is a term from the world of aviation that's closely related to what you asked about (especially given the context of flying drones).

Situational awareness refers, loosely speaking, to the ability of a pilot of an aircraft (and other people like air traffic controllers) to be aware of where their aircraft is in relation to other aircraft, the ground, other moving and stationary objects, etc., and in addition being aware of other factors that could influence safety (e.g., what other aircraft or people on the ground are intending to do in the next few minutes; the fact that a runway is closed or a certain piece of equipment is not functioning normally, etc.).

See here for a (much) more detailed explanation (Edit: googling "situational awareness aviation" gives better results, such as this one). Happy flying!

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