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Social Development:

Self and Other

CADV 352
Spring 2014
Isabella Lanza
The Sense of Self
Awareness of the self as differentiated from other
people is crucial for childrens development

Individual Self - Aspects of the self that make a
person unique and separate from others

Relational Self - Aspects of the self that involve
connections to other people and develop out of
interactions with others

Collective Self - A persons concept of self within a
group, such as a group based on race or gender
The Sense of Self
Developmental Origins of Self Concept
Babies as young as 18 weeks of age will look
at their reflection in a mirror but do not realize
that they are looking at themselves
Rouge test as assessment of self-recognition
Recognize own image by age 2
The Sense of Self
Developmental Origins of Self Concept
Harter - 6 stages in the development of self-
3-4 years - observable physical features,
preferences, possessions, social characteristics

5-7 years - competencies
8-10 - more complex descriptions - focus on
abilities and interpersonal attributes
The Sense of Self
Developmental Origins of Self Concept
Harter - 6 stages in the development of self-
descriptions contd
Early adolescence - interpersonal attributes, social skills,
competencies, emotions; recognize different selves in
different contexts

Mid adolescence - introspective and preoccupied with
what others think of them; begin to question self
descriptions, especially when there are contradictions

Late adolescence - emphasize personal beliefs, values,
and moral standards; think about future and possible
Global Self-Esteem
Self-esteem overall evaluation of worth based on
self-concept (perception of attributes/traits)
Children who have high self-esteem view themselves as
competent, capable, and are pleased with who they are

Individuals with high self-esteem are happier than those
with low self-esteem

High self-esteem in childhood is linked to a variety of
positive adjustment outcomes including school success,
good relationships with parents and peers, and less anxiety
and depression
But, direction of effects is unclear

Cognitive development and social awareness
contributes to development of self-worth/self-
Self-esteem becomes more complex and
multidimensional across childhood
Susan Harter 5 dimensions of self-worth:
Scholastic Ability
Athletic Competence
Physical Appearance
Behavioral Conduct
Social Acceptance
Domain-Specific Perceptions
Sample Items from the Harter Self-Perception Profile for Children

Really true for me Sort of true for me Sort of true for me Really true for me

Scholastic competence

Some kids feel like they are just as smart as
other kids their age
BUT Some kids arent so sure if they are as

Athletic competence

Some kids are very good at sports BUT Some kids are not very good at sports

Global self-worth

Some kids are often unhappy with
BUT Other kids are pretty pleased with

Learning Self-Appraisal
Children under the age of 8 tend to have
unrealistically positive self-appraisals
Self-appraisals become more realistic across
development as children incorporate feedback from
others and compare themselves to others

Children also distinguish among different kinds of
competence and view themselves as better in some
domains than others

Self-appraisals in each domain affects global self-
Gender Variations in Global Self-Esteem
Girls have lower global self-esteem than boys
beginning in middle childhood and this difference
increases in adolescence
Social Determinants of Self-Esteem
Family Influences

Childrens higher self-esteem associated with
parents who are

Accepting, affectionate, and involved with their
children, set clear and consistent rules, use
noncoercive disciplinary tactics, and consider the
childs views in family decisions
Social Determinants of Self-Esteem
Influence of Peers
Peers become increasingly influential across
development, especially in the domains of
Physical appearance, popularity, and athletic competence
Public domain more influential than private domain

Identity Formation
Identity - The definition of oneself as a discrete,
separate entity
Identity achievement vs. Identity confusion
Marcia formulation
Level of Exploration

High Low
High Identity



Low Identity

Identity Formation
Identity achievement - associated with high self-esteem,
cognitive flexibility, more mature moral reasoning, clearer goal
setting, and better goal achievement
Identity foreclosure - more authoritarian and inflexible and
more susceptible to extreme ideologies and movements, such
as cults or radical political movements
Identity moratorium - anxious and intense, often have strained
or ambivalent relationships with their parents and other
authority figures; better adjusted than foreclosed or diffused
identity status
Identity diffusion - viewed as the least mature in their identity
development. Some are delinquents and abuse drugs; others
are lonely or depressed; still others are angry and rebellious
Identity Formation
What influences identity development?

Signals break from childhood
Awareness of self as a sexual being

Changes in cognitive functioning
Abstract reasoning influences thinking about the self
Ability to recognize different selves in different contexts
Identity Formation
Ethnic Identity Recognition of being a member of
a particular race or ethnic group
Faces of Ethnic Identity

Ethnic knowledge Children know that their ethnic group has distinguishing characteristics
including behaviors, traits, customs, styles, and language.

Ethnic self-identification

Children categorize themselves as a member of a particular ethnic
Ethnic constancy Children understand that the distinctive features of their ethnic group
are stable across time and situation and that membership in the group
does not change.

Ethnic behaviors Children enact and endorse behavior patterns that distinguish their
ethnic group.

Ethnic preferences Children feel positive about belonging to their ethnic group and prefer
their ethnic groups behavior patterns.

Identity Formation
Ethnic Identity
Development of Ethnic Identity
Infancy - babies look longer at faces of their
own race than faces of other races

Preschoolers have a global understanding
of their culture and use ethnic labels in a rote
fashion; limited understanding of ethnic group

Early elementary school understand that
identity does not change over time or context
Identity Formation
Ethnic Identity
Development of Ethnic Identity

Adolescence - most active period of ethnic-
identity development along with exploration
of general identity

Having achieved a clear, positive ethnic
identity is related to high selfesteem, more
optimism, more social competence, more
positive feelings toward the ethnic group
Identity Formation
Ethnic Identity
Biracial Children and Youth
Adolescents who identify with one race or the
other are better adjusted than those with no
clear identity
Bicultural Identity

When Mexican American adolescents
rate themselves on two 5-point
scaleslevel of European American
cultural identification and level of
Mexican American cultural
identificationtheir scores can be
used to place them in the four ethnic
identity groups shown here.
Identity Formation
Ethnic Identity
Factors that Promote Ethnic Identity
Parental Socialization
Impart knowledge about cultural traditions, instill pride in
their ethnic heritage, and prepare children for prejudice and
discrimination based on their ethnicity

Peer Socialization
Spend time with members of own ethnic group, which
contributes to more stable ethnic identity
Adolescents who spend time with members of other ethnic
groups have more mature ethnic identities
Developing Knowledge about Others
Early Understanding of Intentions and Norms
Age 1 - understand that peoples actions are
intentional and goal directed
18 months - recognize simple social norms
End of second year can describe scripts for
social routines
Script - a mental representation of an event or
situation of daily life including the order in which
things are expected to happen and how one
should behave in that event or situation
Developing Knowledge about Others
Later Understanding of Mental States: Theory of Mind
Theory of Mind - Childrens understanding
that people have mental states such as
thoughts, beliefs, and desires that affect their
behavior. It allows children to get beyond
peoples observable actions and
appearances and respond to their unseen

Developing Knowledge about Others
Understanding Psychological Trait Labels
Preschoolers describe others in terms of physical
characteristics; gradually use psychological descriptions
Age 5-7 - recognize that people have psychological or
personality attributes that distinguish them from each
other and are stable enough to predict how people will
act at different times and in different situations
Age 9-10 - describe another persons actions less in
terms of good or bad and more in terms of stable
psychological traits
Adolescence - realize that people are full of complexities
and contradictions
Developing Knowledge about Others
Advancing Social Understanding
Child Abilities
Children who have higher levels of social
understanding also do better on standard
intelligence tests and exhibit more frequent
prosocial behavior, such as helping and
sharing, on the playground and in the
Developing Knowledge about Others
Advancing Social Understanding
Parental Influences
Children in families who frequently talk about
mental states are more likely to succeed on
theory-of-mind tasks
Helpful when parents conversations with
their children include explanations of the
causes and effects of mental states, using
words such as because, how, and why
Developing Knowledge about Others
Advancing Social Understanding
Siblings and Friends

Two important types of interaction
Pretend Play
Dispute Resolution

Interactions also involve discussions about
shared concerns, interests, and goals
Developing Knowledge about Others
Stereotyping and Prejudice
Stereotype - A general label applied to
individuals based solely on their membership
in a racial, ethnic, or religious group, without
appreciation that individuals within the group

Stereotype consciousness - The knowledge
that other people have beliefs based on
ethnic stereotypes
Developing Knowledge about Others
Stereotyping and Prejudice
Prejudice - A set of attitudes by which an individual
defines all members of a group negatively
Evident by age 5
Age 5-9 decrease in prejudice as children begin
to appreciate the ways in which different groups
are similar and that that not all individuals within a
group are the same
Late childhood to adolescence prejudice
increases again because of focus on personal and
ethnic identity
Developing Knowledge about Others
Stereotyping and Prejudice
Expression of Prejudice

Early childhood - avoidance and social exclusion

Late childhood and adolescence - conflict and
May also begin to hide true feelings at this time
Implicit prejudice
Developing Knowledge about Others
Stereotyping and Prejudice
Determinants of Stereotyping and Prejudice

May be biologically primed
Showing adults faces from a different race
activates neural activity in the amygdalaa region
of the brain associated with fear, anger, and

Developing Knowledge about Others
Stereotyping and Prejudice
Determinants of Stereotyping and Prejudice

Social factors
Prejudiced messages from parents, peers, schools, and

Researchers in one study found that parents racial
socialization began by the time their children were only 18
months old and predicted the childrens racial attitudes at
ages 3 and 4 years

Children may develop prejudices even if their parents do not
express them because of peer and media influences
Developing Knowledge about Others
Stereotyping and Prejudice
Promoting Stereotypes and Prejudice

Prejudice is more likely when groups are
more distinct
This is why societies sometimes increase a
groups perceptual distinctiveness

Prejudice is increased when group activities
are segregated
Developing Knowledge about Others
Stereotyping and Prejudice
Can Stereotypes and Prejudice be Reduced?
Increase contact between members of groups who
are prejudiced toward each other
Particularly effective if work toward a shared goal; Reduce

Point out the individual characteristics of members
of the other group
Minimizing stereotypes of racial and ethnic groups in
media such as books, television, and movies