Development of sense of self

The social cognition section of Cognitive Development

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  • Created by: Laura
  • Created on: 16-06-10 18:11

Self Recognition & Theory of Mind (ToM)


Refers to the sese that individual is distinct from others; essential for social interaction.

  • Baby 'roots' more in response to anothers touch rather than its own.
  • Prefer to look at videos of others than of themselves
  • 'Rouge test'; after 15 months babies will try to rub red dye off nose seen in the mirror (they recognise that the image in the mirror is 'them')

Theory of Mind

Complex cognitive ability which allows us to understand and empathise with others; allows us to predict the behaviour of others.

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Investigating ToM

Main method of investigating ToM is 'false belief tasks'

  • "Maxi hides chocolate in blue cupboard, Mother moves it to the green. Where will Maxi look?" Under 4: green. Over 4: blue.
  • Smartie's task; smarties tube containing pencils. Same results
  • Baron Cohen: Sally Ann task
  • Matched autistic children, 'normal' children, children with Down's on mental age.
  • "Sally puts marble in basket, Ann moves marble to box. Where will Sally look? Where is marble really? Where was marble originally?" All groups answered 2nd and 3rd questions (reality + memory questions), Autistic children struggled most with 1st question (belief question)
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Evaluating ToM

  • Baron-Cohen's study matched Ps on mental age; reduced EVs.
  • Language is a massive part of false-belief tasks; possibility phrasing of questions has led to children under 4 failing rather than a deficit.
  • Using young and atypically developed children/adults creates issues regarding consent.

Work on ToM has extremely useful applications; provided explanation for Autism:

  • Autism symptoms divided into 3 categories (Wing's Triad) Social, Language, Thought & Behaviour. Symptoms vary in severity; spectrum disorder.
  • Baron-Cohen thought that Autistic children failed to develop ToM, leading to minimal social interaction, a lack of imaginative play and delayed language development
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Development of Perspective Taking

Perspective taking is a basic element of ToM involving an understanding of the world from the perspective of others. Selman felt this developed in stages;

Undifferentiated perspective taking (3-6 years), Social informational perspective taking (5-9 years), Self-Reflective perspective taking (7-12 years), Third-Party perspective taking (10-15 years) and Societal perspective taking (14+ years).

Evaluating Selman

  • Other studies provide support for stages
  • Has applications to teaching effectiveness
  • Ethnocentric
  • Far more complex; requires longtitudinal study
  • Social interaction is much more advanced, models like this possibly outdated?
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Fyzah :p


Thanks ^_^

This is really helpful :)

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