Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford


  • Ann G. PhillipsEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_1158-1



For children, self-awareness begins as a rudimentary understanding that one is separate from the environment. In older children and adults, self-awareness is a psychological state where attention is focused inwardly, toward one’s self-concept. Self-awareness has many consequences for thoughts, feelings, and behavior.


Self-awareness is notoriously difficult to define, as are many elusive self-related terms. “Self-awareness” often reflects several types or levels of self-awareness that include: a basic sense that one is separate from the outside world, a sense of bodily self-awareness where people (and some animals) can recognize themselves in mirrors, and a more advanced form of self-awareness, where someone can turn attention inwards toward an elaborate self-concept.

While self-awareness means many things to many researchers and theorists, most agree that it develops...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.St. Andrews UniversityLaurinburgUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Christian Jordan
    • 1
  1. 1.Wilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada