Toward a Theory of the Development of Self
Our discussion has centered thus far on self recognition, its representional modes, its developmental course and the individual differences associated with its expression. Our major purpose, however, is to evolve a theory of the development of self. In order to do this, we chose to study self recognition, believing that self recognition is a window on the emerging concept of self—and, by necessity, implies a concept of self. Unfortunately, although self recognition certainly implies a self, its absence may not imply a lack of self. It is possible to consider an organism who possesses a concept of self but is not able to visually recognize self, for example, a person blind from birth. In any case, self recognition may provide clues to how the self develops. In the following discussion, our concept of self as presented in Chapter 1 will be integrated with our findings on self recognition and a general theory of self will be proposed. Specifically, the organizational features of self that lead the child to the discovery of self knowledge, the relationship of self development to other aspects of social knowledge, the principles of social dimensions, and the relationship of the categorical self to social dimensions will be discussed.
KeywordsSocial Cognition Emotional Experience Social World Social Dimension Verbal Label
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