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The Emerging Self. First 6 months: Discover physical self Joint attention – 9 months Difference in perceptions can be shared Self-recognition – 18 months Categorical self (age, sex) - 18 – 24 months Based on cognitive development Requires social experience

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the emerging self
The Emerging Self
  • First 6 months: Discover physical self
  • Joint attention – 9 months
    • Difference in perceptions can be shared
  • Self-recognition – 18 months
  • Categorical self (age, sex) - 18 – 24 months
  • Based on cognitive development
  • Requires social experience
    • The looking-glass self: a “reflection”
some core concepts in the study of the self
Some core concepts in the study of the self
  • Self-concept
  • A person’s conception and evaluation of one’s self, including physical and psychological characteristics and skills. At its most basic, this involves knowledge of the self, as reflected in toddlers’ by visual self-recognition.
  • Identity formation
  • A self-portrait of the different pieces of the self in a coherent and integrated mode (including, for example, physical, sexual, ideological, intellectual, relational, vocational, and cultural/ethnic aspects). Erik Erikson believed that adolescents grapple with their developing adult identity, asking seriously “Who am I?” and “What do I want to be?” for the first time.


  • The extent to which a person views him- or herself as an effective individual. Self-efficacy develops with experience, but young children believe that they are more competent (efficacious) than they actually are, frequently overestimating their abilities.
  • Self-esteem
  • The judgments people make of their general self-worth and the feelings associated with those judgments. Researchers have identified at least five areas of self-esteem: scholastic competence, social competence, behavioral conduct, athletic competence, and physical appearance
What I am Like with Different People”: Multiple selves of a prototypical 15-year-old girl (adapted from Harter, 1999)
emotional development
Emotional Development
  • Primary Emotions
    • Emerge during first year of life
    • distress, disgust, interest, surprise, contentment, joy, anger, sadness, fear
  • Secondary (self-conscious) emotions
    • Emerge during second year of life and depend on self-awareness and symbolic representation
    • shame, embarrassment, coyness, shyness, empathy, guilt, jealousy, envy, pride, contempt
milestones in emotional development expression recognition understanding and self regulation
Milestones in emotional development: expression, recognition, understanding and self-regulation

Emotional expression

  • 1st year: Primary Emotions
  • - at birth: distress, interest, disgust
  • - about 1-3 months: joy
  • - about 3-6 months: anger, sadness, surprise
  • - about 6-8 months: fear
  • 2nd year: Secondary (Self-conscious) Emotions
  • - about 18-24 months: empathy, envy (jealousy),
  • - about 30-36 months: pride, guilt, shame, hubris

Infants and children display a wide range of facial expressions associated with specific emotions. Can you identify each emotion the children in the photographs are expressing?

emotional recognition
Emotional recognition
  • - about 3 months: sensitivity to abrupt emotional caregiver changes
  • - about 6 months: (implicit) recognition of all basic emotions
  • - about 12 months: social referencing (modeling own emotional reactions on the basis of the recognition of other people’s emotional reactions)
emotional understanding
Emotional understanding
  • -about 3-5 years old: Understanding important public aspects of emotions
  • - (explicit) recognition and naming of emotional expressions
  • - how external causes affect others’ emotions
  • - the impact of reminders on emotions
  • -about 7 years old: Understanding the mentalistic nature of emotions
  • - the role of desire and belief in emotions
  • - the discrepancy between expressed and felt emotions
  • -about 9-11 years old: Understanding complexity of individual emotional behavior
  • - the mixed nature of emotions
  • - the relation between morality and emotions
  • - the role of cognition in emotional regulation
emotional self regulation
Emotional self-regulation
  • - about 1st year: ability to regulate some disturbing input
  • - about 3rd year: ability to hide real emotions
  • - about 5-11 years: increasing ability to self-regulate emotional states

Adolescent depression and maternal rejection: The incidence of clinical depression in a group of adolescents who experienced low versus high degrees of maternal rejection as a function of which combination of alleles they possessed for a gene that influenced dopamine transport. As you can see, only adolescents who possessed one combination of alleles (TT) experienced significantly greater levels of clinical depression as a result of high level of maternal rejection (from Haeffel et al., 2008).


Children’s stress hormones as a function of maternal depression and medical risk. Cortisol levels at 18 months of age as a function of early medical risk and maternal depression. Only high-risk toddlers of depressed mothers had elevated levels of cortisol (adapted from Bugental et al., 2006).

  • Seen in infancy
  • Genetically based
  • Tendencies to respond in predictable ways
  • Building blocks of personality
  • Goodness of fit (Thomas & Chess)
    • Parenting techniques
    • Learning to interpret cues
    • Sensitive responding
gender differences
Gender Differences
  • Verbal: Females slightly higher
  • Spatial: Males higher
  • Math: Males highest and lowest
  • Aggression and riskiness: males
  • Compliant, tactful, cooperative: females
  • Nurturant, empathic, anxious: females
  • Play style
  • Interest in infants
  • Vulnerability: males
cognitive theories
Cognitive Theories

Kohlberg: self socialization

Stage-like changes

Gender identity: ages 2-3

Label themselves correctly

Gender stability: ages 3-4

Stable over time

Gender consistency: ages 5-7

Stable across situations


Gender roles over the life-span

At marriage: greater differentiation

Birth of child: it increases more

Parental imperative

Middle age and older: Androgyny

Shift - does not mean switch

Hunting-gatherering hypothesis and the origin of sex differences in spatial cognition: Silverman & Eals
  • Hunting (male) fostered eye-hand coordination, better navigation skills, mental rotation.
  • Gathering (female) fostered enhanced object-location memory
males females space relations mental rotation
Males > Females: space relations & mental rotation

Females > males: object & location memory

  • Differential treatment
  • Differential expectations
  • By 18 mo: categorical self
  • By 21/2 yr: gender identity
  • 18-24 mo: gender toy preference
  • 3 yrs: gender stereotypes acquired
  • Gender rigidity until age 6
  • Gender constancy: by ages 4-6
  • Gender typed behavior by age 2 1/2
    • Greater by age 6
    • Stronger rules for boys

A model of phase changes in the rigidity of children’s gender stereotypes as a function of age. As children first learn about gender characteristics as preschoolers they become increasingly rigid in their stereotypes, with rigidity peaking as their gender knowledge becomes consolidated between 5 and 7 years old. Children become less rigid in their stereotypes until adolescence, when they increase again (not shown in figure) (from Martin & Ruble, 2004)

  • Gender intensification
    • Pubertal hormonal changes
    • Preparation for reproductive activities
  • Gender and peer conformity
  • Later adolescence more flexible thinking
  • Grading Sheet for Assignment 4: Changes in Grandparenting
  • Scores in all 3 areas are totaled to give a final score from 1-10
    • I.   Content
  • 3 people interviewed (one over 60 and one under 30)
  • nature of relationship with grandparents described for each person
  • author’s interpretation of how changes in geographic mobility, daycare, and divorce have contributed to the quality of grandparent/grandchild relationships
  • 1   2   3   4   5 6
    • II.   Organization
  • clear, specific introduction that explains the purpose of the paper
  • thoughtful conclusion that goes beyond repetition of main points
  • effective topic sentences
  • fully developed, unified paragraphs
  • 1   2    
  • Grammar and Mechanics
  • consistent/appropriate use of present and past tenses
  • avoidance of sentence fragments and run-on sentences
  • proper subject-verb agreement
  • correct punctuation
  • correct spelling
  • appropriate integration of quotations
  • 1 2 
      • Total Score =
social role hypothesis eagly
Social-role Hypothesis (Eagly)
  • Roles create stereotypes
  • Context and culture important
  • Changes occurring today
  • Psychological differences
    • Few and small
    • Important
  • Differential roles continue
biosocial theory
Biosocial Theory
  • Money and Ehrhardt
  • Biological development
    • Presence of Y chromosome
    • Testosterone masculinizes brain and nervous system
  • Social influences and labeling at birth
  • Gender behavior through social interaction
origins of sexual orientation
Origins of Sexual Orientation
  • No evidence for Freudian interpretations (e.g., strong mother, weak father)
  • Prenatal hormones influence adult sexual orientation
  • Homosexual parents as likely to have heterosexual children as heterosexual parents.

A classification of children’s sex-related behaviors. (Adapted from the Child Sexual Behavior Inventory [Friedrich et al., 1991] and Kaeser, DiSalvio & Moglia’s [2000])

Communicative Behaviors

  • - Verbal: for example, “Talks about sexual acts”
  • - Nonverbal: for example, “Shy about undressing”

Exhibition and Voyeur Behaviors

  • for example, “Shows sex (private) parts to adults”
  • for example, “Tries to look at people when they are nude or undressing”

Modeling Behaviors

- Sexually implicit: for example, “Playing doctor-games”

  • - Sexually explicit: for example, “Imitates sexual behavior with dolls or stuffed animals”

Self-touching Behaviors

  • for example, “Touches sex (private) parts at home”
  • for example, “Masturbate with hand”

Touching-others Behaviors

  • - Direct: for example, “Touches other people’s sex (private) parts”
  • - Indirect: for example, “Hug adults he/she does not know well”
parental investment theory robert trivers 1972
Parental Investment Theory (Robert Trivers, 1972)
  • There is a conflict for both males and females in how much time, effort, and resources to invest in mating versus parenting
  • In most mammalian species:
  • Females invest more than males (female investment is obligatory)
    • Gamete size (egg larger than sperm)
    • Internal fertilization and gestation
    • Nursing
    • Childcare
  • Ancestral men and women faced different adaptive problems and evolved different adaptive mechanisms (this is true for the sexes of most animals)
sexuality over the life span
Sexuality Over the Life Span
  • Infant sexuality: CNS arousal
  • Childhood
    • Learn about reproduction
    • Curiosity and exploration
    • Sexual abuse: like PTSD
  • Adolescence: sexual identity, orientation
  • Double standard: decline?
adult sexuality
Adult Sexuality
  • Most are married
  • Gradual declines
    • Individual differences
    • Married have more sex
  • Male sexual peak: age 18
  • Female sexual peak: age 38
men have greater sex drive than women controversial
Men have greater sex drive than women (controversial)
  • Men engage in more sexual daydreaming than women
  • Men report experiencing more spontaneous sexual desire than women
    • Gay men report having sex more frequently than lesbians
  • Men report initiating sex more than women
  • Men masturbate more than women
  • Women report higher frequency of low libido than men
  • Men more likely to pay money or present gifts for sex than women
older adults
Older Adults
  • Stereotype: Asexuality
  • Reality: decline
    • Diseases and disabilities
    • Social attitudes
    • Lack of a partner
  • Physiologically able in old age
incest avoidance
Incest Avoidance
  • Westermark (childhood familiarity results in incest avoidance) versus Freud (Oedipal and Electra complexes)
  • Wolf: “minor marriages” in Taiwan
  • Compared to “major marriages,” minor
  • produced 40% fewer children
  • had three times higher divorce rate
  • wives more likely to admit to extramarital affairs
  • Shepher: Israeli kibbutzim
  • Of 2869 couples from 211 kibbutzim, no marriages between members from the same kibbutz.
post adoption incest and genetic sexual attraction
Post-adoption incest and genetic sexual attraction
  • highly intense, sexual attraction, often leading to incestuous relations, experienced by close kin who have been separated at or soon after birth and reunited as adults.
  • Most data on this phenomenon are anecdotal
  • Greenberg and Littlewood’s (1995) survey of post-adoption counselors in London indicated that about 50% of clients who had been reunited with kin as adults experienced, “strong, sexual feelings.”
mechanisms for westermark effect
Mechanisms for Westermark effect
  • Olfaction
  • Evidence of the functions of pheromones in animals and humans for both kin recognition and sexual attraction
  • Parents can distinguish between the odors of their biological children, except in the case of identical twins
  • Mothers cannot identify stepchildren by odor
  • Preadolescent children can identify their full sibs but not half sibs or stepsibs by odor
  • Olfactory cues may mediate favoritism of blood relatives
weisfeld et al 2003 studying human families
Weisfeld et al. (2003), studying human families
  • immediate family members exhibited particular patterns of aversions to each other’s odors.
  • Fathers showed aversions to their daughters’, but not to their sons’ odors.
  • Mothers did not display any aversions
  • Opposite-sexed, but not same-sexed sibling pairs, showed aversions to each other’s odors.
  • These patterns occurred whether or not the source of the odor was recognized, and whether or not the individuals involved were biologically related.
attachment theory
Attachment Theory
  • Bowlby: A strong affectional tie that binds a person to an intimate companion
  • Measured by:
    • proximity behaviors,
    • distress upon separation,
    • extent to which the attachment figure can calm infant
  • Helps regulate distress by proximity seeking
    • By about 6-7 months
  • Ainsworth: special, irreplaceable people
    • Desire to maintain proximity
    • Derive a sense of security
  • Konrad Lorenz: Imprinting
    • Critical period
    • Irreversible
  • Humans: Attachment
    • Sensitive period
    • Predisposed
theories of attachment
Theories of Attachment
  • Psychoanalytic Theory: “I love you because you feed me”
  • Learning Theory: “Rewards lead to love”
  • Cognitive-Developmental Theory: “To love you I must know you”
  • Ethological (Evolutionary) Theory: “Perhaps I was born to love”
infant s attachment to caregiver
Infant’s Attachment to Caregiver
  • Social responsiveness
    • At birth: undiscriminating
    • 2-6 mo: preferences develop
  • Proximity seeking
    • 6 mo to 3 yr
    • Attachment figures
    • Mental representation abilities needed
caregiver s attachment to infant
Caregiver’s Attachment to Infant
  • Early contact not crucial nor sufficient
  • Neonatal reflexes endearing: e.g., smiling
  • Cooing and babbling: early conversations
  • Synchronized routines
    • Peek-A-Boo
    • Sensitive responding a must
    • Over-stimulation/under-stimulation
attachment related fears
Attachment-Related Fears
  • Separation anxiety: 6-8 mo
    • Peaks around 14-18 mo
    • Gradually wanes
  • Stranger anxiety: 8-10 mo
    • Declines during 2nd yr
  • Ainsworth: secure base for exploration
quality of attachment
Quality of Attachment
  • Caregiver provides “contact comfort”
  • Ainsworth: Strange Situation Test
    • Secure attachment: most
    • Insecure attachment categories
      • Inconsistent care > resistant
      • Insensitive stimulation > avoidant
        • Rejection, impatient, resentful
        • Intrusive
      • Abusive > disorganized/disoriented
later outcomes
Later Outcomes
  • Securely attached child
    • Cognitively and socially competent
    • Expect positive reactions
  • Insecurely attached child
    • Withdrawn, dependent, fearful
    • Less competent
  • Patterns last through adolescence
Attachment to fathers, grandparents, etc.
    • Can compensate for poor attachment
  • Secure attachments may change
    • Stressful events: divorce, illness
  • Insecure attachments may change
    • Lifestyle improvements
  • Later relationships influenced by nature of early attachment
Distribution (%) of the types of attachment types (secure, insecure avoidant and insecure ambivalent) in several countries
interactions during childhood
Interactions during childhood
  • During childhood, peer social interaction focuses on play
  • Sex segregation common
  • Physical aggression during early childhood, relative to toddlerhood, decreases while verbal aggression shows the opposite pattern (Coie & Dodge, 1998).
  • Relational aggression: manipulating social relations by shunning and spreading rumors, among other strategies.
  • Relational aggression increases with age as children’s cognitive abilities improve, but is used more by girls than boys
Peer-directed aggression is first observed at the end of the first year of life and typically occurs in the context of object disputes (Coie & Dodge, 1998).
  • Up to 50% of the interaction between toddlers is conflictual, though not aggressive
bullies and victims
Bullies and victims
  • The form of aggression that comes to the fore during late childhood and adolescence is bullying and victimization
  • Bullies are more frequently boys than girls and represent about 10% of the elementary school population in most industrialized counties
  • boys use physical aggression in bullying same-sex peers and girls use relational aggression with other girls
  • Victims of bullies tend to be physically frail children with few friends or affiliates
aggression as a solution to adaptive problems
Aggression as a solution to adaptive problems
  • Co-opt resources of others
  • Defend against an attack
  • Inflict costs on intrasexual rivals
  • Negotiate status and power hierarchies
  • Deter rivals from future aggression
  • Deter long-term mates from sexual infidelity
potential benefits of aggression must be balanced with costs
Potential benefits of aggression must be balanced with costs
  • Aggression tends to cause retaliatory aggression
  • Aggression to maintain reputation and status
  • “Honor” killings of sisters/daughters to maintain status in community
  • Willingness of victim to retaliate
  • Reputation as both a bully or victim can be deleterious
young male syndrome
Young-male syndrome
  • Males, at all ages, engage in more physical aggression than females and the aggression that adolescent and young-adult males engage in is more likely to lead to serious injury and sometimes death
  • Greater male aggression can be explained in terms of parental investment theory

Intrasex competition

Impress females via competitive risk taking

  • Risk taking and accidents are frequently the result of competitive or “show-off” behavior, with the purpose being to compete with other members of the same sex or to impress members of the opposite sex
Death rates dues to vehicular accidents per 100,000 resident population in the United States for males and females, 1995-1997
Percentage of trauma admissions for violence at LA Medical Center for 3 months in 1990, by age (adapted from Cairns et al., 1991)
Adolescent and young-adult males are more likely to be both the victims and perpetrators of homicide
homicide victimization rate per 100 000 resident population in the united states 1995 1997 females
Homicide victimization rate per 100,000 resident population in the United States, 1995-1997: Females
dominance hierarchies
Dominance hierarchies
  • Status with a group
  • Influences access to resources, such as food and mates
  • Establishing high status achieved by combination of aggression and cooperative interaction
  • Dominance hierarchies:
    • Reduce antagonism within the group
    • Distribute scare resources
    • Focus division of labor
establishing dominance hierarchies
Establishing Dominance Hierarchies
  • “leaders” recognized early,even in transient groups.
  • In children, top and bottom of hierarchies established first, middle areas later
  • Even preverbal toddlers in groups form dominance hierarchies
  • In childhood, hierarchies usually in same-sex groups
  • Interaction in same-sex groups serves to foster development of social skills
  • Children with mostly opposite-sex friends are less-well adjusted than children with mostly same-sex friends (Kovacs et al., 1996)
both aggression and affiliative behaviors used to establish and maintain dominance
Both aggression and affiliative behaviors used to establish and maintain dominance
  • Evidence in:
    • chimpanzees (de Waal)
    • preschoolers (Hawley)
    • school children and adolescence (Pellegrini)
  • In preschoolers level of aggression positively associated with popularity (Hawley; Vollenweider et al.)
  • Robbers Cave study (Sherif et al.)
    • Fifth-grade boys at summer camp
    • Rattlers and Eagles
outcomes of parenting styles
Outcomes of Parenting Styles
  • Children of authoritative parents
    • Adjusted, responsible, high achievement
  • Children of authoritarian parents
    • Moody, unhappy, aimless
  • Children of permissive parents
    • Low: self-control, independence, achievers
  • Children of neglectful/uninvolved parents
    • Behavior problems, antisocial
stepparent investment cinderella or marsha brady
Stepparent Investment: Cinderella or Marsha Brady?
  • Stepparents should show little interest in the welfare of children who are clearly not their biological offspring
  • Why should stepfathers invest at all?
  • Stepparenting as mating opportunity. The best strategy for a man when looking for a new mate may be to act solicitously toward the potential mate’s children
  • It’s more difficult for stepparents to develop strong emotional bonds with stepchildren than with biological children
  • In one study of middle-class stepfamilies in the United States, only 53% of stepfathers and 25% of stepmothers claimed to have any “parental feelings” whatsoever for their stepchildren (Duberman, 1975)
how much do stepparents invest
How much do stepparents invest?
  • Anderson et al. (1999a,b): South Africa & U.S.: stepfathers spent significantly more money on their natural children than on their stepchildren
  • Zvoch, 1999: Stepfamilies saved less money for their children’s education, started savings accounts for children later, and expected to spend less money for their child’s education in the future.
  • Stepfathers spend significantly less time with their stepchildren than with their natural children (3 hours less per week with their stepchildren than with their natural children); play with them less often. Pattern found cross culturally: U.s. South Africa, Caribbean islands
  • less money is spent on food when a child is reared by an adoptive, foster, or stepmother than a biological mother (Case et al.)
wicked stepparents
“Wicked” stepparents?
  • Daly & Wilson, in survey of Canadian households: Children were 40 times more likely to be abused if they lived with a stepparent versus two natural parents.
  • This difference remained even when possible influencing factors that may be associated with stepfamilies, such as poverty, the mother’s age, and family size, were statistically controlled. Given these and similar findings
  • “Stepparenthood per se remains the single most powerful risk factor for child abuse that has yet been identified.”
  • Child homicide: Studies in different countries report that for children under 2-years of age, homicide 40 to 100 times more likely at hands of stepparent (usually stepfather) than natural parent.
The risk of being killed by a stepparent versus a natural parent in relation to child’s age: Canada, 1974-1983 (from Day & Wilson, 1988)
  • High-risk couples
    • married 7 years
    • Teen-age marriages, short courtship
    • Pregnant before marriage
    • Low SES
  • Post-divorce crisis
    • 1-2 years
    • At risk for depression
children of divorce
Children of Divorce
  • Often angry, fearful, depressed, or guilty
  • Custodial mother overwhelmed
  • Behavior problems
  • Peer relationships suffer/change
  • Sometimes negative effects are lasting
  • 1-2 year adjustment
theories of aging and death
Theories of Aging and Death
  • Programmed theories
    • Maximum life span (species specific)
    • Hayflick Limit
  • Damage Theories
    • Free radicals
  • Interaction of the two – or more
the child
The Child
  • The mature concept of death
    • Finality, irreversibility, universality, biological causality
  • Age 3-5: universality
    • Dead live under altered circumstances
    • Reversible - life sleep
  • Age 5-7: finality, irreversibility
  • Level of cognitive development, experience
the natural emergence of afterlife reasoning with jesse bering carlos hern ndez blasi
The Natural Emergence of ‘Afterlife’ Reasoning with Jesse Bering & Carlos Hernández Blasi
  • Preschoolers, 10/11-year olds; adults
  • View puppet show of anthropomorphized mouse getting eaten by alligator
Participants asked series of questions about the continuity of biological, psychobiological, and psychological functioning
  • Will he ever need to eat food again?”*
  • Does his brain still work?”*
  • Will he ever grow up to be an old mouse?”
  • Will he ever need to drink water again?”
  • Is he still thirsty?”*
  • Is he still hungry?”*
  • Is he still sleepy?”
  • Does he still feel sick?”
  • Can he still hear the birds singing?”*
  • Can he still taste the yucky grass he ate?”*
  • Can he still smell the flowers?”
  • Can he see where he is?”
  • Does he still wish he didn’t have a brother?”*
  • Does he still want to go home?”*
  • Does he still hope he gets better at math?”
  • Is still sad because he can’t find his way home?”*
  • Is still angry at his brother?”*
  • Still loves his mom?”
  • Is still scared of the alligator?”
  • Is still thinking about his brother?”*
  • Still believes he’s smarter than his brother?”*
  • Knows that he’s not alive?”
  • Still believes his mom is the nicest grownup?”
Percentage of 5/6-year-olds participants providing discontinuity responses, by school- and question-type
Percentage of 8/9-year-olds participants providing discontinuity responses, by school- and question-type
Percentage of 11/12-year-olds participants providing discontinuity responses, by school- and question type
percentage of participants providing discontinuity responses by age and question type
Percentage of participants providing discontinuity responses, by age and question type
the adult
The Adult
  • Death of family member difficult
  • Death of spouse more expected with age
    • More difficult when young (non-normative)
  • Elevated levels of stress
  • Risk increases for illness and death
  • Signs of recovery after 2 years