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Chapter Eleven.docx

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Psychology 2040A/B
Jackie Sullivan

Chapter Eleven: Self & Social Understanding - Chapter is about social cognition, or how children come to understand their multifaceted social world Emergence of Self & Development of Self-Concept - Self-develop begins with the dawning of self-awareness in infancy & gradually evolves into a organized view of self’s characteristics & capacities during childhood & adolescence Self-Awareness - As early as the 1 few months, smile at self in the mirror Beginnings of Self-Awareness - At birth, know they are physically distinctive from the environment o Strong rooting reflex in response to a touch on the cheek o Their capacity for intermodal perception supports beginning of self-awareness - Over first few months, distinguish their own image from other stimuli, but self-awareness is limited o Look at themselves but at 4 months look at others more than themselves o This reflects an implicit sense of self-world differentiation – serves as the foundation of explicit self- awareness: an objective understanding that the self is a unique object in a world of objects Explicit Self-Awareness nd - During 2 year, become consciously aware of self’s physical features - Around age 2, self-recognition – identification of the self as a physically unique being – is well under way o Point to themselves in photos & refer to themselves by name - At 3, recognize their own shadow - As self-recognition takes place, they construct an explicit body self-awareness o Realize they can control things with their body (pushing a cart) o But they lack objective understanding of their own body dimensions – they make scale errors, attempting to do things that their body size makes impossible  These errors usually decline by 2 Influences of Self-Awareness - Environment helps children sort out objects & other people so they realize they are separate from external reality - Researchers do not know exactly how toddlers acquire aspects of explicit self-awareness o But sensitive caregiver seems to play a role – secure children display more self-related actions & have greater knowledge of their & other’s physical features - Joint attention also offers toddlers many opportunities to compare their own & other’s reactions to objects & events which may enhance their own physical uniqueness - Cultural variations exist in early self-development – German & Greek toddlers attain mirror self-regulation earlier than a collectivist family as the collectivists from Nso, Cameroon engage in less face-to-face communication & object stimulation & physical stimulation o Greek & German practice reflects a distal parenting style, which is common in cultures that value independence, but the Nso practice a proximal parenting style typical in cultures that value interdependence Self-Awareness & Early Emotional & Social Development - Self-awareness quickly becomes a central part of children’s emotional & social lives o End of first year, children start behaving intentionally & learn their own goals & compare them to others  Sets the stage for social referencing & emergence of self-conscious emotions (2 ndyear) - Self-awareness also leads to first efforts to understand another’s perspective - 2 year-olds’ self-recognition leads to a sense of ownership (says “mine!”) The Categorical, Remembered & Enduring Selves - Language development permits young preschoolers to construct a categorical self as they classify themselves & others on the basis of age, perceptually distinct attributes, gender & behaviours, & goodness & badness o Between 18 & 30 months - Adult-child conversations about the past lead to an autobiographical memory that grants a child a remembered self (a more coherent portrait than is offered by isolated, episodic memories) & a enduring self (a view of themselves as persisting over time) The Inner Self: Children’s Theory of Mind - As children think more about themselves & others, they form a naïve theory of mind – a coherent understanding of their own & other’s rich mental lives o Clearly aware of an inner self of private thoughts & imaginings - Children’s developing theory of mind contributes to perceptive taking – the capacity to imagine what others may be thinking & feeling & to distinguish those viewpoints from one’s own o It is crucial for a wide variety of social-cognitive achievements (understanding others’ emotions, communication skills & self-concept/self-esteem) Early Understandings of Mental States - Over first year, infants build on implicit appreciation of people as animate beings whose behaviours are governed by intentions, desires & feelings o This sets the stage for verbalized mental understandings that blossom in early childhood - At end of second & continuing over the third year, children display a clearer grasp of people’s emotions & desires, evident in their increasing mental-state vocab, capacity to empathize & realization that people often differ from one another & from themselves in likes, dislikes, wants & needs o Findings confirm that toddlers comprehend mental states that can be readily inferred from their own & other’s actions o But their understanding is limited to a simplistic desire theory of mind: they think that people always act in ways consistent with their desires & do not realize that less obvious, more interpretive mental states, such as beliefs, also affect behaviour Development of Belief-Desire Reasoning - Between ages 3-4, children increasingly refer to their own & other’s thoughts & beliefs - From age 4 on, they exhibit belief-desire theory of mind, a more advanced view in which both beliefs & desires determine actions, & they understand the relationship between these inner states o Children attempt to alter others’ beliefs to get their way as they know beliefs affect behaviours o They believe that false beliefs – ones that do not represent reality accurately – can guides people’s behaviours - False-belief understanding strengthens at 3½ & becomes more secure between 4-6 - Some of this research is controversial due to violation-of-expectation* Reasoning About Beliefs in Middle Childhood - With realization that people can increase their knowledge by making mental inferences, school-aged children extend their false-belief understanding further - When children (6-7 years) are told stories involving one character’s beliefs about a second character’s beliefs, they were aware that people form beliefs about others beliefs & these are second-order beliefs (which can also be wrong) o Appreciation for these second-order false beliefs enables children to pinpoint the reasons that another person arrived at a certain belief o It requires the ability to view a situation from at least 2 perspectives – that is, to reason simultaneously about what 2 or more people are thinking, a form of perspective taking called recursive thought Social Consequences - Preschoolers’ capacity to use both beliefs & desires to predict people’s behaviour becomes a powerful tool for reflecting on thoughts & emotions & a good predictor of social skills too - False-belief understanding is linked to gains in a child’s capacity to discuss thoughts & feelings with others - False-belief is also associated with gains in sociodramatic play, with early reading ability, with more accurate eyewitness memory & with social skills Factors Contributing to Children’s Theory of Mind - Children develop a theory of mind at a young age because of language & verbal reasoning; execute function; parent- child conversations about mental state; make-believe play & social interactions with siblings, friends & adults Self-Concept - Refers to the set of attributes, abilities, attitudes & values that an individual believes defines who he or she is Early Childhood - Preschoolers’ self-concept often consists of observable characteristics (name, appearance, possessions) - By 3 ½ can describe themselves in terms of emotions & by 5 report personality traits (like being shy) Middle Childhood - Over time, organize their observations of typical behaviours & internal states into general disposition - Major change occurs between ages 8 & 11 o Instead of specific behaviours, children emphasizes competencies “like I’m so-so in studies” - Their evaluative self-descriptions result from school-age children’s frequent social comparisons – judgments of their own appearance, abilities & behaviour in relation to others o 4-6 years old can compare themselves to others but older children can compare multiple individuals Adolescence - In early adolescence, the self differentiates further; teens mention a wider array of traits, which vary with social context (ex. Self with mother, self with father, self with friends) - Also they can identify unique separate traits into more abstract descriptors (smart & curious  intelligent) - From middle to late adolescence, cognitive changes enable teens to combine their traits into a system o They use qualifiers, like “fairly” good, showing they understand situational variations - Teens emphasize social virtues more (ex. Being friendly, considerate) – traits that reflect their increasing concern with being viewed positively by others - Personal & moral values also emerge as key themes on how they describe themselves, move toward the kind of unity of self is central to identity development Cognitive, Social & Cultural Influences on Self-Concept - Changes in self-concept are supported by cognitive development, perspective taking skills (Mead: generalized other – a blend of what we imagine important people in our lives think of us) & feedback from others - Self-concept varies across cultures: o Children in individualist cultures focus on personal characteristics o Collectivist children focus on group membership & relationships Self-Esteem: The Evaluative Side of Self-Concept - Another component of self-concept is S.E: the judgments we make about our own worth & feelings associated with those judgments o High self-esteem implies realistic evaluation of self’s characteristics & competencies, coupled with an attitude of self-acceptance & self-respect o A very important aspect of self-development as it affects our behaviours, emotions & adjustments The Structure of Self-Esteem - Have studied S.E by applying factor analysis to children’s ratings of the extent to which statements like these are true “I am good at homework” - By age 4, preschoolers have several self-judgments (limited understanding though) - Around 6-7, can form at least 4 broad self-evaluations: o Academic competence o Social competence o Physical/Athletic competence o Physical appearance - Self-esteem takes on the hierarchical structure that branches from the 4 categories above o Physical appearance correlates more strongly with global self-esteem than any other self-esteem factor  Emphasis on appearance – in the media, among peers, etc. – has major implications on overall satisfaction with self - Arrival of adolescence adds several new dimensions of self-esteem – close friendship, romantic appeal & job competence – that reflect important concerns of this period Changes in Level of Self-Esteem: The Role of Social Comparisons - Self-esteem declines over the first few years of elementary school as peers, teachers & themselves begin to make social comparisons (before elementary their self-esteem is very high as they don’t consider task difficulties yet) - Except for a temporary drop associated with school transition, self-esteem rises from 4 grade on, with new dimensions added in adolescence Influences on Self-Esteem - From middle childhood to adolescence, individual differences in self-esteem become increasingly stable o Favorable self-esteem profiles are associated with positive adjustment (sociable & conscientious) o Low self-esteem in all areas is linked
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