Unformatted text preview: Development of the Self Lecture #3 September 30, 2010 1 Overview
Evolution of the symbolic self Development of the I-Self Models of self-concept (Me-Self) development
– – – Mead’s symbolic interactionism theory Erikson’s identity development model Harter’s model of self-development 2 What is the Symbolic Self?
(Sedikides & Skowronski, 1997) Symbolic self: a flexible and multifaceted cognitive representation of an organism’s own attributes 3 1 Symbolic Self-Awareness
(Sedikides & Skowronski, 1997) The unique capacity of the adult human organism to:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Form an abstract representation of itself through language (the symbolic self) Communicate the symbolic self to other organisms and negotiate the contents of the symbolic self with others Set goals far into the future Perform goal-guided behaviors Evaluate the outcome of these behaviors Link behavioral outcome to feelings toward the symbolic self Defend the symbolic self against threatening events and ideas 4 Is the Symbolic Self the Product of Evolution?
Sedikides and Skowronski argue that:
– Some heritable traits (adaptations) promote reproductive success in a particular set of environmental circumstances The symbolic self is a broad-based capacity that was selected and distributed in the human population because of its high adaptive significance. – 5 What are the Adaptive Functions of the Symbolic Self?
Symbolic self plays a crucial role in human thinking, feeling, and behaving
– – – More sensitive to self-relevant information Processes in place to maintain positive feelings about the self; associated with health and wellbeing Symbolic self allows for goal setting and goalconsistent behavior 6 2 When Was the Symbolic Self Selected? 7 Temporal Origin of the Symbolic Self
During the late Pleistocene epoch:
a) The brain exhibited substantial increases in capacity and complexity Hunting became an increasingly important form of food procurement Humans began to exhibit signs of complex social organization
Homo erectus b) c) 8 Why Did the Symbolic Self Evolve?
Ecological pressures perspective:
– Arose as a consequence of the multiple environmental challenges (esp. food acquisition) that faced early humans Social pressure position:
– – – – Arose out of complex social interaction processes (e.g., perspective-taking) Facilitated by language capabilities Shaped by the way other conspecifics perceived the organism Was in the service of impression management 9 3 Moving on…
Humans have evolved the capacity for a symbolic self, but how does the self develop over time within a specific individual? 10 Self-Recognition among Infants
As early as 3-5 months of age, infants are aware of the contingency between visual and proprioceptive feedback from their body movements. Infants looked longer at prerecorded, noncontingent displays of their leg movements than at contingent displays of their legs Infants as young as 4 months old looked and smiled more at videotaped images of a mimicking other than at images of themselves. 11 The Role of Object Permanence
Object permanence: the awareness that objects continue to exist even when they are no longer visible Typically achieved at eight to nine months of age, during the sensorimotor stage of cognitive development (Piaget) Just as infants come to understand that objects and other people endure over time and space, so too do they come to learn that the self has the quality of permanence. 12 4 Self-Other Differentiation
Typically happens by the end of the first year Critical elements
– – Intersubjectivity -- the ability to establish a shared or mutual understanding with interaction partners (e.g., joint attention) Goal conflict 13 Infants and Eye Contact 14 Mead’s Symbolic Interactionism Theory
How are individuals transformed from asocial creatures at birth into socialized beings?
– Individuals adopt the perspective of others and imagine how they appear from others’ point of view Perspective-taking ability synonymous with acquisition of self – 15 5 Example
Child throws food while eating Isn’t able to ask, “I wonder what mom and dad would think of my behavior.” As child matures, the ability to take the perspective of parents shapes self and behavior 16 The Generalized Other
We adopt the perspective of both specific others and generalized others. Generalized other: an abstract representation that embodies the broader society and culture into which we were born Importance of role-playing and games 17 Erikson’s Identity Development Model
1. Infancy: Birth to 18 Months Ego Development Outcome: Trust vs. Mistrust Basic strength: Drive and Hope 5. Adolescence: 12 to 18 Years Ego Development Outcome: Identity vs. Role Confusion Basic Strengths: Devotion and Fidelity 2. Early Childhood: 18 Months to 3 Years Ego Development Outcome: Autonomy vs. Shame Basic Strengths: Self-control, Courage, and Will 6. Young adulthood: 18 to 35 Ego Development Outcome: Intimacy and Solidarity vs. Isolation Basic Strengths: Affiliation and Love 3. Play Age: 3 to 5 Years Ego Development Outcome: Initiative vs. Guilt Basic Strength: Purpose 4. School Age: 6 to 12 Years Ego Development Outcome: Industry vs. Inferiority Basic Strengths: Method and Competence 7. Middle Adulthood: 35 to 55 or 65 Ego Development Outcome: Generativity vs. Self absorption or Stagnation Basic Strengths: Production and Care 8. Late Adulthood: 55 or 65 to Death Ego Development Outcome: Integrity vs. Despair Basic Strengths: Wisdom 18 6 Harter’s Model of Self-Development
The self is both a cognitive and social construction
– Cognitive: We construct a theory of self, and this construction is limited by our cognitive capabilities. Thus, it’s important to consider the cognitive developmental antecedents of the self – Social: Because the self is also a social construction, it’s important to consider socialization experiences 19 Normative-Developmental Changes in Self-Representations during Childhood
Very early childhoood Salient Content
Concrete, observable characteristics; simple taxonomic attributes in the form of abilities, activities, preferences Structure/ Organization
Isolated representations; lack of coherence; all-or-none thinking Valence Accuracy
Unrealistically positive, inability to distinguish real from ideal self Typically positive; inaccuracies present Nature of Comparisons
No direct comparisons Sensitivity to Others
Anticipation of adult reactions; rudimentary appreciation of meeting standards Recognition that others are evaluating the self; initial introjection of others’ opinions Internalization of others’ opinions and standards, which come to function as selfguides Early to middle childhood Elaborated taxonomic attributes Rudimentary links between representations; all-or-none thinking Higher-order generalizations that subsume several behaviors; ability to integrate opposing attributes Temporal comparisons with self when younger; comparisons with age-mates Middle to late childhood 20 Trait labels that focus on abilities and interpersonal characteristics; comparative assessments with peers global evaluation of worth Both positive and negative evaluations; greater accuracy Social comparison for purpose of selfevaluation Normative-Developmental Changes in Self-Representations during Childhood
Early adolescence Salient Content
Social skills, attributes that influence interactions with others; differentiation of attributes according to roles Further differentiation of attributes associated with different roles and relational contexts Normalization of different rolerelated attributes; reflecting personal beliefs, values, and moral standards; interest in future selves Structure/ Organization
Intercoordination of trait labels into single stractions; abstractions compartmentalized; allor-none thinking Valence Accuracy
Positive attributes at one point in time; negative at another; inaccurate overgeneralizations Nature of Comparisons
Social comparison continues, although less overt Sensitivity to Others
Compartmentalized attention to internalization different standards and opinions of those in different relational contexts Awareness that the differing standards and opinions of others represent conflicting selfguides, leading to confusion Selection among alternative selfguides; construction of one’s own selfstandards that govern personal choice; creation of ideals Middle adolescence Initial links between single abstractions, often opposing attributes; cognitive conflict caused by seemingly contradictory characteristics Simultaneous recognition of positive and negative attributes Comparisons with significant others in different relational contexts; personal fable Social comparison diminishes as comparisons with one’s own ideals increase Late adolescence Higher-order abstractions that meaningfully integrate single abstractions and resolve inconsistencies More balanced, stable view of both positive and negative attributes 21 7 What Role to Parents Play in Shaping the Self?
When you see adults who are confident and self-assured, what role did parents play in shaping that person’s sense of self? What about an adult that is antisocial, angry, and aggressive? For example, how do we raise our kids to be “nice”? 22 Most Kids are Naturally Nice
Young children show the first signs of empathy and empathic concern between 12 and 24 months. (Eisenberg and Fabes 1998). Felix Warneken et al. (Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology)
– Researchers found that 14-month-old infants would spontaneously help a stranger by giving him objects that were beyond his reach. The babies helped the man even though he didn’t ask them for help. In most cases, the babies responded within 10 seconds— before the man made eye contact or named the object he was trying to reach (Warneken and Tomasello 2007). – 23 Helping Behavior 24 8 Parental Socialization
Helpful kids are linked to the following parental practices:
– – – – Parental warmth Secure emotional attachment Emotional “coaching” that helps kids learn to regulate their own negative emotions, and Inductive discipline (an approach that emphasizes rational explanations rather than arbitrary punishments) 25 9 ...
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