Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Mirror Self-Recognition

  • Diana ReissEmail author
  • Rachel Morrison
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_1493-1



The ability to recognize oneself in a mirror.


Mirror self-recognition (MSR), the ability to recognize oneself in a mirror and “the ability to become the object of your own attention” (Gallup 1982, pp. 242–243) is considered to be a reliable indicator that humans and some other animals recognize their reflection in a mirror as an external representation of self (Amsterdam 1972; Anderson 1984; Gallup 1970; Rochat 2003). Researchers have used mirrors as tools to study the development and perception of self in human and nonhuman species. Developmental studies of MSR in humans indicate that the earliest age children first show self-directed behavior is 12–15 months and mark-directed behavior (passing the mark test) first emerges between 18–24 months (Amsterdam 1972; Anderson 1984; Bard et al. 2006; see review in Reiss and Morrison 2017). It has been theorized that proprioceptive awareness may be an antecedent of the onset of...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyHunter College of The City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of North Carolina at PembrokePembrokeUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Dawson Clary
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ManitobaWinnipegCanada