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PSYC 100

Week Five: Self and Others How does our sense of self and others affect our interpersonal behaviour? Self and Identity How do we know who we are, and how do we know that we know Identifying Oneself  When infants are born, their ability to reason about themselves as separate from those around them is extremely limited compared to what it will eventually become  The Rouge Test: used to determine development of a sense of self by using a dot of red colour on the nose of the child or animal, then placing them in front of a mirror to see if recognition occurs – if they are self-aware they will inspect the red dot on themselves, not their reflection – infants are usually able to pass the test between 15-24 months Developing Self-Identity  As language skills increase, so does development of self o By age 2 children can refer to themselves by name or pronoun o Between 3 and 4 they can describe their personal characteristics (physically observable traits, abilities and preferences, social relationships, psychological states)  Around age 8, children become more likely to use knowledge about themselves to evaluate and modify their behaviour; self-concept becomes more nuanced as children have increased autobiographical memory, and they are able to make social comparisons between their own abilities and those of others; they also have broader terminology and become more concerned with how other perceive them  Adolescents are often quite concerned with how they are perceived by others, sometimes experiencing an imaginary audience, where they feel they are being watched/judged causing feelings of self-consciousness and questions of self-concept Also aware that different behaviours are appropriate in different contexts, which can be confusing for their sense of identity  Different cultures (individualist vs. collectivist) influence how you perceive yourself Knowing Others How does out sense of self and others affect our interpersonal behaviour? Theory of Mind  The ability to reason about what other people might know or believe and how those beliefs and knowledge will relate to their actions  Practice is a serious factor in its development o Facilitated if a child has older siblings (three-year-olds with older siblings do as well as typical four-year-olds on ToM tests) o Also facilitated by parents who explicitly ask their children to think about the feelings of the victims of the child’s actions, and by training in perspective-shifting and deception  Usually arises in its most basic form around age 4 – prior to this, children will often attribute knowledge to others that they have themselves but is not really accessible to the other person  False-Belief Problems: used to measure children’s Theory of Mind o Container Test: child shown candy box and asked what is inside, typically answer “candy”, box is opened to reveal pencils, child asked what someone else would think was in the box if they had not seen this reveal, children under four usually answer “pencils”, and often claim they knew it was pencils all along o Displacement Test: children watch scene where puppet places object in cupboard then leaves, second puppet takes object from cupboard and moves it to drawer, first puppet returns and child is asked where the puppet will look for its object – children under four will say “drawer”, while older kids will say “cupboard”  Developmental precursors to this ability: o Intersubjectivity: ability to share focus of attention with others (e.g. imitating) o Infants are capable of understanding goals of others (seen in habituation experiments)  6 months: distinguish between goals of animate and inanimate objects  12 months: consider person’s situation when deducing their goals  18 months: can recognize a goal even if it is not attained (actor falls, etc.) o Lying – happens around age 3, as children get older they get better at it as well Executive Functioning  Includes capacity to control impulses, plan complex actions, foresee consequences, and use working memory; controlled by prefrontal cortex  Perseveration: inability to disengage from an activity (e.g. asked to sort cards by colour and later by shape), common in children and those with brain damage to frontal lobe  Seems to develop at the same pace as Theory of Mind, but does so independently (cross-cultural comparison between Chinese children (higher executive functioning) and American children (higher socialization) who develop Theory of Mind around the same time) Genetic Factors  Theory that ToM develops form the same cluster of genetic and epigenetic processes as Autism Spectrum Disorder (difficulty understanding social situations and forming relationships, preservative behaviours, and high sensitivity to sound, light, or touch)  Some theorists propose
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