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PSYC 3450 (49)
Chapter 6

Chapter 6 SPD.docx

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PSYC 3450
Karl Hennig

Chapter 6 (SPD) Development of the Self and Social Cognition - Self – the combination of physical and psychological attributes that is unique to each individual - Looking-glass self – the idea that a child’s self concept is largely determined by the ways other people respond to him or her  Proposed by Charles Cooley – the self concept is the image cast by a social mirror - Social cognition – thinking that people display the thoughts, feelings, motives, and behaviours of themselves and other people Development of the Self-Concept - Self-concept – one’s perceptions of one’s unique combination of attributes The Emerging Self: Differentiation, Discrimination, and Self-Recognition - Many developmentalists believe that infants are born without a sense of self, while having the capacity to distinguish self from the surrounding environment - Newborns seem capable of proprioceptive feedback from their own facial expressions to mimic at least some of the facial expressions their caregivers display  Proprioceptive feedback – sensory information from the muscles, tendons, and joints that helps one locate the position of one’s body (or body parts) inspace - 2 month old infants may have some sense of personal agency – the recognition that one can be the cause of an event or events Self recognition - Once infants know that they are (that they exist independent of other people and other objects), they are in a position to find out who, or what they are - Self-recognition - the ability to recognize oneself in a mirror or photograph, coupled with the conscious awareness that the mirror or photographic image is a representation of “me” - Rouge test – test of self-recognition that involves marking a toddler’s face and observing his or her reaction to the mark when placed in front of a mirror  When infants 9-24 months old were tested the younger infants showed no signs of self- recognition, while 15-17 month olds sometimes showed recognition, and the majority of 18- 24 month olds did show self-recognition - Present self – early self-representation in which 2- and 3-year olds recognize current representations of self, but are largely unaware that past self-representations or self-relevant events have implications for the future  For example, if shown a picture of themselves which is a few minutes old depicting a sticker on their head, they will not attempt to retrieve the sticker from their head Chapter 6 (SPD) - 4 and 5 year olds, however, have developed the concept of extended self – they recognize that the self is stable over time and that: 1. Events that happened very recently have implications for the present, whereas 2. A sticker they see a week later in a picture is not still on their heads because the event happened a long time ago Cognitive and Social Contributors to Self-Recognition - Although a certain level of cognitive development may be necessary for self-recognition, social experiences are probably of equal importance  Rouge-test with chimps showed chimps raised in isolation did not display self-recognition - Secure attachment to parents contributes to self-awareness in humans Emergence of Categorical Self - Categorical self – a person’s classification of the self along socially significant dimensions such as age and sex - Once toddlers display self-recognition they become more sensitive to the ways in which people differ – and begin to categorize themselves on these dimensions Children’s Theory of Mind and Emergence of the Private Self - When adults think about the self, they know that it consists of a public self (me) that others can see, and a private self (I) that has inner reflective character others cannot see  Public self (or me) – those aspects of self that others can see or infer  Private self (or I) – those inner, or subjective, aspects of self that are known only to the individual and are not available for public scrutiny - Theory of mind – an understanding that people are cognitive beings with mental states that are not always accessible to others, and that often guide their behaviour  If children are aware of both public and private self it implies they have a theory of mind Early Understandings of Mental States - The first step toward acquiring a theory of mind is the realization that oneself and other humans are animate objects whose behaviours reflect goals and intentions - Age 9-12 months is when infants engage in a good deal of joint attention – the act of attending to the same object at the same time as someone else  A way in which infants share experiences and intentions with their caregivers - By 18 months, toddlers have discovered that desires influence behaviour, and can often reason accurately about other people’s desires - Desire theory – an early theory of mind in which a person’s actions are thought to be a reflection of his/her desires rather than other mental states such as beliefs  A child in the “desire theorist” stage would fail to take into account the fact that someone’s beliefs can shape their behaviour, as well as desires Chapter 6 (SPD) - Between the ages of 3 and 4 most children develop a belief-desire theory of mind in which they recognize that beliefs and desires are different mental states and that either or both can influence one’s conduct Origins of a Belief-Desire Theory of Mind - False-belief task – method of assessing one’s understanding that people can hold inaccurate beliefs that can influence their conduct, wrong as these beliefs may be - Once children understand that people will act on the basis of false beliefs, they may use this knowledge to their own advantage by lying or attempting other deceptive ploys - Between ages 3 and 4 is when children normally begin to achieve a much richer understanding of mental life  But it’s important to keep in mind this is something that develops from infancy, it doesn’t just suddenly occur at age 4 - Across cultures children do not develop a rich understanding of how the mind works at the same age  In certain cultures mental states are not talked about, so you can have 8 year olds that have difficulties understanding that beliefs can be false Conceptions of Self in Middle Childhood and Adolescence - Once children develop a theory of mind their self descriptions very gradually evolve from listings of their physical, and other “external” attributes to sketches of their enduring inner qualities - Children increasingly come to compare themselves with other people, and to acknowledge that there are dimensions on which they may fall short by comparison The Self in Adolescence - You can often see inconsistencies in self-descriptions of adolescents, it is fairly typical for adolescents who are becoming more aware that they are not the same person in every situation - Individuals who most often display false self-behaviours are the ones who feel the least confident that they know who they truly are  False self-behaviour – acting in ways that do not reflect one’s true self of the “true me” (acting out of character in an attempt to improve their image or win approval of peers or parents) - One’s self concept becomes more psychological, and more abstract - The overview of self-concept presented here is one based off of research conducted in Western industrialized societies, and thus cannot be said to be universal Self-Esteem: The Evaluative Component of Self - 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 Chapter 6 (SPD) Origins of Self-Esteem - Bowlby’s “working models” theory predicts that securely attached children should soon begin to evaluate themselves more favourably than insecurely attached children Cultural Influences - Individualistic societies – societies that value personalism and individual accomplishments, which often take precedence over group goals  These societies tend to emphasize ways in which individuals differ from each other - Collectivist (or communal) societies – societies that value cooperative interdependence, social
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