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Lecture 1

PSYCH 2AA3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Social Comparison Theory, Mental Representation, Display Rules

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Self Understanding – Socio Emotional Development
-What is our self and who are other people?
oself: understanding of who and what we are
oself understanding: cognitive representation of self (self scheme) – ie. skills,
relationships, roles, categories (CONTEXT)
-developmental course of self understanding
ochanges in teen years
-tied to cognitive development
Self Understanding in Infancy
-difficult because infants aren’t verbal
-don’t have complex representation of self
-mirror technique research
opresent primate with mirror to see if they recognize themselves
ooriginally used in nonhuman consciousness research
oat first, they assume its another chimp
oplaced paint on chimps cheek  notice this change in the mirror because they point
to the mark
chimps appear to recognize themselves but paint violates physical image
so they try to get rid of the paint
oafter a couple days they know its them in the mirror
oNow use this technique with babies (human self recognition research)
How often do they touch their forehead with the paint?
Didn’t want to put it on their nose bc they might touch nose out of
Younger (17 months)
oBabies under a year old will care about the paint
Older (19 months)
oBy 18 months, this is accomplished (notice
paint/themselves in the mirror)
oMental representation
oDistorted images
Don’t care until 18 months – show fear response
-Piaget = sensorimotor stage (mental representations)
Self Understanding in Early Childhood
-can interview them about how they feel
-describe themselves with 5 characteristics (age 6-7)
-activities oriented
ocentral component of self hood in young kids
oex. I live in a big house, I know my ABCs
ofocus on external features

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-physical and material
ohow are you different from your friend? – wont compare unless asked
oex. Im different from ___ because I have blonde hair and she has brown hair
onice or mean/happy or sad/good or bad
onever “sometimes”, cant be two things at once  centration
-unrealistically positive
oactual self vs ideal self
ochildren have difficulty distinguishing the two
oex. A child knows all their ABCs (ideally) but they get confused with LMNOP
-Piaget = preoperational traits
Middle to Late Childhood
-shift to internal characteristics
opreferences, personality
-decentered, consider two traits at one time
-spontaneous use of social references
-sense of self is rooted in social groups
-more realistic
ocan distinguish between actual vs. ideal selves
know they haven’t achieved the ideal and can talk about that
osocial comparison
-Piaget = concrete operational
oDeal with more complex information
oA little abstract
-increasingly abstract self descriptions
-highly self conscious
opre occupation with self understanding
-who you are shifts a lot – not a solid sense of self – leads to drama
-increased ability to distinguish between actual and ideal selves
ocan construct multiple ideal selves
oaddition of possible selves – who MIGHT I become
-fluctuations in self understanding
-eventual integration into whole concept of self
ogeneral theory of self survives inconsistencies
oidentity is formed
-Piaget = formal operations
-development of self understanding progresses as cognitive development progresses
owere not born able to recognize the self, or knowing who we are

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ogenes play a role  experience integrates it
otakes a long time  slowly learn who we are as we have experiences
-parallel development are understanding of others
osame progression applies to ability to describe and understand
Understanding Others
-Social cognitive development
ohow do we come to understand others
ohow do we come to understand the shades of social interactions and relationships
otheory of mind – understanding that other people are different from me
-Important abilities
odescribing others
oreading other’s feelings
ounderstanding social rules
ounderstanding others intentions
Ties to Cognitive Development
-developmental course of both cognitive and social cognitive development
ofrom concrete to abstract
ofrom definite to qualified
ofrom egocentric to general viewpoint – understand other peoples experiences
-but people are not objects
othree basic differences between people and objects
interactivity – don’t have to learn to interact with objects like you have to
learn how to interact with people; how to read emotions, motivations etc
intentionality – objects don’t have behavioural intent
have to read cues about other peoples intentions (body language)
social scripts – with humans, have to behave in a certain way
have many social scripts (home, grandpas house etc)
Three Step Model
-asked to describe people they knew
-descriptions focus on
oexternal features (up to ages 6-8) – hair colour, height etc.
don’t have conservation of personality – don’t understand that personality
is a trait
not good at internal features
ointernal features (begins at age 7-8)
recognize stable traits
physical descriptions used differently (ex. He smells very much and is
very nasty)
black and white descriptions
oqualifiers and inferences (begins in teens)
“like this but sometimes like that”
-other research support
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