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Week 17 - Self and Others: A Comparative Perspective

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Queen's University
PSYC 100
Dr.Ada Mullett

Week 17 Notes How do we know who we are, and how do we know what we know?  Analyze the nature and development of our senses of self  Describe the cognitive, social, and cultural influences on the self-concept  René Descartes convinced himself all he knew was false, but stayed resolved that “I am, I exist”.  Rouge Test: used to determine development of a sense of self by using a red dot on the nose of the subject, then placing them before a mirror and observing to see if recognition occurs  Not all chimps are able to recognize themselves, humans are able to do this between 15 and 24 months. Chimps first assume their mirror image is another chimp  At age 2 children verbally refer to themselves in an overly positive manner (not in relation to others though)  At age 8, children develop a better self-concept (perception of oneself including knowledge, feelings, and ideas) as they have increased autobiographical memory (memory for experiences that make up our lives)  Social Comparisons: evaluating your skills and abilities in relation to those of others  Imaginary Audience: thought process where teens believe they’re constantly being watched and judged  Teenagers are often confused about their sense of self due to variances from different contexts  Based on your culture and how you were raised, your sense of self will differ to focus on either individual or collectivist traits How does our sense of self and others affect our interpersonal behaviour?  Describe the cognitive, social, and cultural influences on the self-concept  Evaluate Theory of Mind  Theory of Mind (ToM): reasoning process that attempts to predict how others might think or behave based on their motives, needs, and goals  Called ‘theory’ because we can’t be sure of others’ mental processes, but can make reasonable guesses  Children acquire basic ToM around age 4  False Belief Problems: test used to determine a kid’s ToM and false-belief understanding  Container Test: false-belief test that asks children to reason what is in a container based on what is outside the container, or what was in the container, and adjust as they learn the truth  Displacement Test: false-belief test that explores how children reason through a change in location from two different perspectives (puppets hiding objects)  A developmental precursor to ToM is intersubjectivity, first apparent as infants begin to imitate those around them  Infant Habituation: simplest form of learning where a child learns not to respond to an unimportant event that occurs repeatedly  Infants attribute goals to humans, not inanimate objects (display of ToM)  By 12 months infants expand their understanding of goals to include situations  At 18 months infants are able to predict what a failed action was meant to accomplish  Children begin to lie at around age 3, however they have trouble telling consistent lies (they’re bad at it and they can’t keep their stories straight)  Executive functioning is an important developmental factor in ToM  Preservation: inability to switch strategies as new information is presented. Occurs in young children and those with frontal lobe damage  ToM and executive functioning develop independently  ToM is facilitated through practice and a rich learning environment (older siblings, attentive parents)  ToM may develop out of same cluster of genetic and epigenetic processes as Autism Spectrum disorder (ASD) (group of disorders that affect the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills  Corvids (crows an
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