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PSYC 2450
Anneke Olthof

DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY: CHAPTER 13 1 Development of the Self and Social Cognition  Self – the combination of physical and psychological attributes that is unique to each individual  Social cognition – thinking that people display about the thoughts, feelings, motives, and behaviours of themselves and other people Development of the Self-Concept  Babies become distressed hearing the cries of another baby, yet not by their own cries, which implies that they have a differentiation of self  The anticipate the arrival of their hands to their mouth and seem capable of using proprioceptive feedback – sensory information from the muscles, tendons, and joints that help us locate the position of our body in space – from their own facial expressions to mimic their caregivers  Andrew Meltzoff – the young infant has a body scheme that is present as a psychological primitive right from the earliest phases of infancy  Margaret Mahler – likens the newborn to “chick and egg”, there’s no reason to differentiate the self from the surrounding environment Self-Differentiation in Infancy  Most agree this can be seen by 2-3 months  Piaget – during the first two months they repeat pleasurable acts centered on their body  2 month old infants may have some limited sense of personal agency – recognition that one can be the cause of an event – or understanding that they are responsible for at least some of the events that fascinate them Self-Recognition in Infancy  Once infants know that they exist independent of other entities, they are in a position to find out who or what they are, the basis of self-concept  Expose infants to a visual representation of self and see how they respond  Marie Legerstee – 5-month olds who viewed moving images of themselves and an age-mate on video could discriminate their own image from that of their peer, indicated by their preference to gaze at their peer’s face (which was novel and interesting) rather than their own (familiar)  Infants often look in mirrors – ample opportunity for them to match their own movement-produced proprioceptive information with the actions in the mirror, thereby discriminating this “self”  Infants become better at discriminating visual representations of themselves and other people and to perceive others as potential social partners  9 month olds watched a video of themselves and an adult mimicking the same actions  The infant was more interested in the adult performing the actions and was more likely to engage with them like a playmate  Michael Lewis and Jeanne Brooks-Gunn – studied the development of the self- recognition by asking mothers to apply a spot of rouge to their infant’s nose and then place the infant in front of a mirror  If they have self-recognition, they should notice the spot and wipe their nose  9-24 month olds were given the test  The young ones showed no self-recognition: treated the image in the mirror as if it were someone else  Signs of self-recognition were observed among the 15-17 month olds but only among the 18-24 month olds did the majority wipe their nose  Infants in nomadic tribes with no mirrors experience self-recognition at the same age as other kids  Not until 3 ½ will they retrieve a sticker that has been placed on their heads if their first glimpse of it comes after a 2-3 minute delay on videotape or in a picture  2-3 year olds who have some self-recognition don’t go for it because their concept of self is that of a present self and they don’t yet appreciate events that occurred in the past have implications on them now  4-5 year olds quickly retrieve the sticker after a brief delay but not if the video is depicts events that happened a week ago  They have developed the concept of extended self: they recognize that the self is stable over time and that 1) events that happened recently have implications for the present, but 2) the sticker they see a week later on film is not still on their heads because this event happened to them a long time ago Contributors to Self-Recognition  18-24 month olds recognize themselves – the same age they internalize sensorimotor schemes to form mental images  Older toddlers, on the verge of creating mental symbols, begin to notice contingency between actions they see in the mirror and proprioceptive information they can sense from their bodily movements, recognizing that the person in the mirror doing what they’re doing is “me”  Once 3 ½-4 year olds begin to encode noteworthy experiences as autobiographical memories, they clearly realize that the self is a stable entity and that earlier events that they remember happened to them  Social experiences are of equal importance to developing self-recognition as cognitive development  Gordon Gallup – adolescent chimps can recognize themselves in a mirror as long as they haven’t been reared in isolation  Social isolates react to their image as if they are seeing another animal  Sandra Pipp – administered a test to 2 and 3 year olds – assessing their awareness of their name, gender, as well as tasks to assess self-recognition  Securely attached 2 year olds were outperforming their insecurely attached age- mates and differences between secure and insecure 3 year olds were greater DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY: CHAPTER 13 3  Parents contribute to self-concept by providing descriptive information, “you’re a big girl” and by evaluating the child’s behaviour “that’s wrong Billy”  Talking about events help children organize their experiences into storyline narratives and to recall them as events that have personal significance  These autobiographical memories help illustrate the sense of self as stable over time, contributing to the growing sense of extended-self  Heidi Keller – contrasted parenting styles and self-recognition achievement in toddlers from three cultures that varied in parenting styles  Mothers from the three cultures did differ in the parenting styles with their 3 month olds  The Nso mothers stressed interdependence, the Greek mothers stressed autonomy, and the Costa Rican mothers fell in between the two  At 18-20 months, the children whose mothers stressed interdependence were not likely to recognize themselves in the rouge test, whereas the toddlers whose mothers stressed autonomy were much more likely to recognize themselves Social and Emotional Consequences of Self-Recognition  The growth of self-recognition and awareness of oneself paves the way for new social interactions and emotional competencies  Toddlers become more outgoing and socially skilled  Early-emerging ability to share and intentions and cooperate with social partners is so significant some see it as the foundation for human culture  2 year old self aware children partake in cooperative problem-solving activities with social partners  They begin to recognize how people differ and begin to categorize themselves on these dimensions – the categorical self – a person’s classification of self along socially significant dimensions such as age and sex  Become aware of ethnic categories although are often wrong  Pro-white bias – African-American preschoolers associate fewer positive attributes to the colour black  May reflect early awareness of negative stereotypes about minorities “Who Am I?” Responses of Preschool Children  Developmentalists used to believe that the self-concepts of children were concrete, physical, and nearly devoid of and psychological self-awareness  Rebecca Edner – when 3 ½ - 5 year olds are asked to respond to contrasting forced-choice statements that require fewer verbal skills than open-ended “Who am I?” questions, they can quickly categorize themselves on psychological dimensions such as sociability, athleticism, intelligence, etc.  Implies that they have rudimentary psychological conceptions of self long before they can express this knowledge in trait-like terminology Concepts of Self in Middle Childhood and Early Adolescence  The developmental shift to a more abstract or “psychological” portrayal of self can be seen in the following three responses to the “Who am I?” question: o 9 year old: I have brown eyes. Brown hair. I love sports. o 11 ½ year old: I’m a human being, a girl. A truthful person. I’m a good cellist. I’m old-fashioned. o 17 year old: I am a human being…a girl. I am a Pisces. I am moody, indecisive. I am lonely. An American. I am an atheist.  Adolescents use more psychological terms and are more aware that they are not the same person in all situations  Susan Harter and Ann Monsour – asked 13, 15, and 17 year olds to describe themselves when they are with 1) parents, 2) friends, 3) romantic partners, 4) teachers and classmates  They were then told to sort through their descriptions and pick out any inconsistencies  13 year olds reported few and weren’t bothered by it  15 year olds listed many and were often confused about them  Felt that there were different selves inside them and wanted to find the “real me”  Those who most often display these false-self behaviours – acting in ways that do not reflect ones true self, or “true me” – are the ones who feel least confident that they know who they truly are  Inconsistent self-portrayals are less bothersome to 17 year olds who have integrated them into higher-order, more coherent view of themselves  The adolescent becomes a sophisticated self-theorist who can reflect on and understand the workings of their personality  Stems from research conducted in Western societies that value independence and view personal attributes as the hallmark of character Who Am I to Be? Forging an Identity  Erik Erikson – the major hurdle adolescents face is forming an identity - a firm and coherent sense of who they are, where they are heading, and where they fit into society  A method of assessing identity formation is to use a narrative approach, in which individuals are asked to tell their life stories or to identify key turning points that made a difference in their lives  The stories are evaluated for level of identity achievement and integration  Another way is through a structured interview, developed by James Marcia  Allows interviewers to classify adolescents into one of four identity statuses – identity diffusion, identity foreclosure, identity moratorium, and identity achievement – based on whether or not they have explored various alternatives and have made firm commitments to an occupation, a religious ideology, a sexual orientation, and a set of political values  Identity diffusion. Persons classified as “diffuse” have not yet thought about or resolved identity issues and have not yet charted future life directions. DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY: CHAPTER 13 5  Identity foreclosure. Persons classified as “foreclosure” are committed to an identity but have made this commitment without experiencing the “crisis” of deciding what really suits them best.  Identity moratorium. Persons in this status are experiencing what Erikson called an identity crisis and are actively asking questions about life commitments and seeking answers.  Identity achievement. Identity-achieved individuals have solved identity issues by making personal commitments to particular goals, beliefs, and values. Developmental Trends in Identity Formation  Erikson saw adolescence as a time when identity issues are most important  Establishing a clear identity in adolescence provides a critical foundation for later stages of development  Waterman – measured the identity statuses of individuals between the ages of 10 and 21, observed clear developmental progression  The vast majority of adolescents were identity diffuse or foreclosed, and not until college age had the majority reached the moratorium status or achieved stable identities  Identity formation tends to be a gradual, lifelong process of exploration and reflection, starting in infancy with the development of self and ending in old age  Girls make progress toward achieving a clear sense of identity at about the same age boys do  Today’s university and college women attach greater importance to the aspects of identity that center on sexuality, gender roles, and the issue of balancing family and career goals  Sally Archer – assessed the identity statuses of grade 6-12 students in four domains: occupational choice, gender-role attitudes, religious beliefs, and political ideologies  Only 5 percent of her adolescents were in the same identity status in all four areas, with 95% being in two or three statuses across all four domains  Adolescents can achieve a strong sense of identity in one area but still be searching in others Identity Formation and Adjustment  James Marica – active identity seekers (in moratorium status) feel much better about themselves and their future than do age-mates in the diffusion or foreclosure statuses  Gerald Adams – suggest that Erikson was right in characterizing identity achievement as a healthy and adaptive development: identity achievers do enjoy higher self-esteem and are less self-conscious or preoccupied with personal concerns than their counterparts in the other three identity statuses  Erikson believed that those without a clear identity become depressed and lack self-confidence as they drift aimlessly, trapped in the diffusion status  Michael Chandler – many adolescents stuck in the diffusion status are highly apathetic and express a sense of hopelessness about the future, sometimes becoming suicidal Influences on Identity Formation Cognitive Influences  Cognitive development plays an important role in identity achievement  Adolescents who have achieved solid mastery of formal–operational thought and can reason logically about hypotheticals are better able to imagine and contemplate future identities  More likely to raise and resolve identity issues than those less intellectually mature Parenting Influences  Adolescents in the diffusion status are more likely to feel neglected or rejected by their parents and to be distant from them  Adolescent in the identity foreclosure status are often extremely close to and sometimes fear rejection from relatively controlling parents  May never question parental authority or feel the need to forge a separate identity  Adolescents in the moratorium and identity achievement statuses appear to have a solid base of affection at home, combined with considerable freedom to be individuals in their own right Scholastic Influences  Attending university or college seems to push people toward setting career goals and making stable occupational commitments  University/college students are far behind working peers in establishing political and religious identities  Some regress from identity achievement to moratorium, or diffusion in certain areas – most notably religion Sociocultural Influences  The idea that adolescents can choose an identity after exploring options may be peculiar to industrialized societies of the 20 century  In the past, adolescents adopted the roles they were expected to adopt  Identity foreclosure is probably the most adaptive route to adulthood  Western societies permit and expect adolescents and young adults to raise serious questions about the self and to answer them Self-Esteem: the Evaluative Component of Self DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY: CHAPTER 13 7  Self-esteem – one’s evaluation of one’s worth as a person, based on an assessment of the qualities that make up the self-concept  Children with high self-esteem generally feel quite positive about the characteristics and competencies they display  Children with low self-esteem choose to dwell on perceived inadequacies rather than on any strengths they may happen to display  Self-concept refers to how a child views his qualities and sense of self  Self-esteem is evaluative and refers to the child’s satisfaction with those qualities comprising his sense of self Origins and Development of Self-Esteem  Bowlby’s working-models theory predicts that securely attached children, who construct a positive working model of self and others, should soon begin to evaluate themselves more favourably than insecurely attached children, whose working models are not so positive  Belgium – 4 and 5 year olds were asked questions about their worthiness, which they answered using a hand puppet  Children with secure ties to their mothers described themselves more favourably than did those insecurely attached and were rated as more socially skilled by their preschool teachers  Self-esteem was highest for those who were securely attached to both their parents and proved to be stable over time when tested again at 8  By 4 or 5 children establish an early and meaningful sense of self-esteem Components of Self-Esteem  Susan Harter – proposed a hierarchical model of childhood self-esteem  To test the model she asks children to complete a Self-Perception scale on which they evaluate themselves in five domains: scholastic competence, social acceptance, physical appearance, athletic competence, and behavioural conduct  Children made self-appraisals by indicating to the extent that a statement was true to themselves o Ex. Some kids are good at figuring out anwers at school  4-7 year olds appear to have inflated self-perceptions because they tend to rate themselves positively in all domains  Aren’t totally unrealistic because they are moderately correlated with ratings that teachers give them  8 – children’s appraisals begin to more closely reflect other people’s evaluations of them  Suggest that self-knowledge and self-esteem may depend on the way that others perceive and react to the child’s behaviour  The point Charles Cooley was trying to make when he coined the term the looking-glass self to explain how we construct a self-image  Children differ in terms of importance they assign to the various competency domains assessed by her scale  Older children’s feelings of self-esteem depend both on how they think others evaluate them (looking-glass self) and on how they choose to evaluate themselves  Early adolescence – one’s perceptions of self-worth become centered on interpersonal relationships  Harter – coined the term relational self-worth to describe the finding their finding that adolescents often begin to perceive their self-worth somewhat differently in different relational contexts (with parents, with males, with teachers, etc.)  All these domains of relational self-worth contribute to an individual’s global self-esteem, although one domain may be more important for some than others  New relationship-oriented dimensions such as romantic appeal and quality of close friendships become very important contributor’s to an adolescent’s global self-esteem  Girls who enjoy high self-esteem are often those who have has supportive relationships with friends, whereas boys are more likely to derive high self- esteem from their ability to successfully influence their friends  Low self-esteem in girls is most strongly associated with a failure to win friend’s approval, whereas low self-esteem in boys in a lack of romantic competence, reflected by a failure to win or maintain affection of girls Changes in Self-Esteem  Erik Erikson – young adolescents, who experience the many physical, cognitive, and social changes associated with puberty, often become confused and show at least some erosion of self-esteem  Children’s and adolescent’s views of their own competence gradually decline across the elementary, middle, and high school years, with particularly noticeable dips for some domains early in adolescence  May reflect the more re
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