The learning of accountability
Social behavior involves being able to predict the responses of others to one’s own behavior. This need not demand any especially sophisticated cognitive activity, so long as other’s responses are treated as just another stimulus event. What does require a higher level of sophistication — a level I feel no temptation to assume is attained by rats or pigeons — is to be able to predict others’ expectations concerning one’s own behavior. Seeing others as thinking beings, to whom one is oneself an object (but also an active object of perception) seems to involve a qualitative leap in complexity of cognitive functioning — to what Langford (1978) has termed “reciprocal self-awareness.”
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.