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Self and Others: A Comparative Perspective

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Queen's University
PSYC 100

Self and Others: A Comparative Perspective -precursor to moral development is to interact with others, make moral decisions concerning them, and recognize that they exist and that they have knowledge, interests, and desires that differ from your own Rene Descartes-convinced himself that all he knew was false, only allowing himself to stop once he had found something that must be true -the pronouncement ‘I am, I exist’ is necessarily true every time he utters it or conceive it in his mind -infants born have an extremely limited ability to reason about themselves as separate from those around them Guided Movements-infants as young as three months of age can begin to make guided movements with the intention of manipulating objects in some way-> attempt to interact with one’s environment represents a sense of self in its most basic form -as early as four months of age, infants will begin to react differently to images of themselves as to images of another person 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 while unconscious-> test subject is placed in front of a mirror and observed to see if recognition occurs -chimps immediately began inspecting the spots on their own body in the mirror, indicating that they could see how their appearance had changed -humans pass it between fifteen to twenty-four months-> younger children are given this test and often will try to touch the child in the mirror or will show little interest in the reflection -children around the age of thirty months are able to consistently choose photos of themselves from photos of different children of the same sex and age Mirror Fighting-researchers placed a mirror inside an enclosure with a pair of chimpanzees-> the chimpanzees initially treated their own reflection in the mirror as they would treat an unfamiliar chimp, by vocalizing, threatening it, or inviting it to play-> after extended exposure, chimps begin to recognize themselves in the mirror and used their newly gained perspective for tasks like grooming parts of their bodies they could not otherwise see -macaque monkeys eventually learned to use the mirror for environmental exploration but never made the connection that they are the monkeys in the mirror -example of rouge test -orangutans, gorillas, gibbons, dolphins, elephants, and some species of birds are capable of mirror self-recognition-> only some non-human species can demonstrate self-recognition in a mirror-> nearly universal in adult humans Two Years Olds- refer to themselves verbally, either by name or by pronoun such as ‘me’ and ‘mine’ Three and Four Years Olds- describes their personal characteristics verbally in terms of physically observable traits, abilities and preferences, social relationships, and their psychological states -young children tend to be overwhelmingly positive in nature-> has difficulty distinguishing what they can do from what they want to do, they don’t alter their opinions of their own abilities based on their experiences, or they tend to ignore relative performance in favour of linking skill to specific acts-> for example, a three year old may describe themselves as strong because they can life a specific object, not because they can move it and someone else can’t Eight Year Olds-more likely to use knowledge about themselves to evaluate and modify their behaviour -becomes more concerned about how others perceive them -more broad terminology-> for example, ‘I’m good at sports’ rather than ‘I run fast’ Self-Concept-individual's perception of self, including knowledge, feelings, and ideas about oneself -used as a basis for how we describe ourselves. Autobiographical Memory-memory for the specific experiences that make up a person's life story -influences development of self-concept Social Comparisons-evaluating one's abilities and opinions by comparing oneself with others to discover how we differ Adolescence-in early adolescence, children often become quite concerned with how they are perceived by others-> concern disappears in adolescence as they gain a stronger and more coherent concept of who they are as individuals Imaginary Audience-adolescent thought process in which they believe they are constantly on a stage and everyone is watching them, attending to their every move and mistake -sometimes experiences it -aware that different behaviours are appropriate in different contexts-> but confused on what it means for ones identity to behave in different and sometimes contradictory ways-> for example, does being happy at home and with friends but miserable at school considers you a happy person?-> distressing-> more aware of their contextual behaviour changes-> becoming less concerned with appearances and more concerned with meeting their own expectations -different cultures around the world place different levels of importance on: Individualist Cultures- concentrates on individual differences between an individual and others Collectivist Cultures-concentrates on group membership -behaving differently in different contexts causes less emotional distress among individuals that it does in more individualist societies Theory of Mind -expectations concerning how experience affects mental states, especially those of another -reasoning process that attempts to predict how others might think or behave based on their motives, needs, goals, and experiences -occurs around the age of four -development depends on intersubjectivity, cognitive capacity, a level of self-identity, and ability to process information that isn’t focused on the self -affected by executive function-> independent of it though -facilitated if a child has older siblings-> three year olds with at least two older siblings perform on false-belief tasks at a level similar to typical four year olds-> rich social environment-> children who interact with older siblings have more opportunity to reason about mental states more similar to their own than an adult’s would be than children without older siblings have -children can achieve greater performance on false-belief tasks after receiving training about perspectives shifting and deception -children develop it at an earlier age if parents explicitly ask their children to think about the feelings of the victims of their actions -partly learnable and possibly influenced by social and cultural environments -theory that it develops out of the same cluster of genetic and epigenetic processes as Autism Spectrum Disorder -some believe that it exists within the brain in a pre-specified way and it follows a fairly predictable mturaitonal timeline trighggered by a genetic facto or an enviromentental factour during prenatial or not triggered by Autism Specturm Disroder Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) -group of developmental disorders that affect the brain's normal development of social and communication skills -characterized by difficulty understanding social situations and forming relationships, and often by perseverative behaviours and high sensitivity to sound, light, or touch -many symptoms are behaviours existing within the typical population and may have the same cognitive underpinnings, but more extreme difficult to find the exact biological causes because of the variety of behaviours associated with some extent the typical population -theory that it occurs when a child lacks Theory of Mind-> supported by the social difficulties encountered by people and that they typically perform poorly on false-belief tasks Executive Functioning-includes capacity to control impulses, plan complex actions, foresee consequences, and use working memory -affects the development of Theory of Mind-> but independent -difficulty switching from one way of doing things to another is common in young children -for example reading a colored word rather than saying the color of the word -prefrontal cortex Intersubjectiviy-ability to share a focus of attention with others -for example, infants after the birth imitates the facial expressions of those around them False-Belief Problems- set of tests used to determine children's Theory of Mind and false- belief understanding -activated in the right temporoparietal junction and parts of the prefrontal cortex -in groups of chimpanzess, the dominant chimp gets to take first selection fo food, and other chimpanzees approach food if it has veen hidden while a dominat chimp was not looking or while the dominat chimp was looking, but was then moved when he was not looking, or hidden, but the dominat chmp who had watched the food being hidden was replaced by a different dominat chimp- > if two pieces of food were hidden so htat one was seen by the dominat chimp and other other was not, the chimp subject didn’t seem to sconsistenly preer to food the dominat chimpdidnt know about-< Thoery of Mind is limited to very clear situations or to a limited number of objects to keep track of -Corvids, bird speices that includes crows and magpies, are highly social and display impressive cognitive abilittes by their capability to make tools, passing the mirror test, and remeverign the numerous lcoations hwere they have hidden food-> when another bid watches a corvid hide food, the corvid who hid the food will often return to that hiding palce after the other brid hasleft and move the food to another hiding palce-> perhaps to prevent the other bird form pilfering their stash-> THoery of Mind -crticis argue that in the case of animal, we are guessing their mental state even though they are a dffernt speices with so
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