The Self and Socialization

Dimensions of Human Development

The dimensions of human development are divided into separate, consecutive stages of life from birth to old age.

Learning Objectives

Analyze the differences between the various stages of human life – prenatal, toddler, early and late childhood, adolescence, early and middle adulthood and old age

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • The stages of human development are: prenatal development, toddler, early childhood, late childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, middle adulthood, and old age.
  • Prenatal development is the process in which a human embryo gestates during pregnancy, from fertilization until birth. From birth until the first year, the child is referred to as an infant. Babies between ages of 1 and 2 are called “toddlers”.
  • In the phase of early childhood, children attend preschool, broaden their social horizons and become more engaged with those around them.
  • In late childhood, intelligence is demonstrated through logical and systematic manipulation of symbols related to concrete objects.
  • Adolescence is the period of life between the onset of puberty and the full commitment to an adult social role.
  • In early adulthood, a person must learn how to form intimate relationships. Middle adulthood refers to the period between ages 40 to 60.The final stage is old age, which refers to those over 60–80 years.
  • In early adulthood, the person must learn how to form intimate relationships, both in friendship and love.
  • Middle adulthood generally refers to the period between ages 40 to 60. During this period, middle-aged adults experience a conflict between generativity and stagnation.
  • The last and final stage is old age, which refers to those over 60–80 years.

Key Terms

  • Prenatal development: Prenatal development is the process in which a human embryo gestates during pregnancy, from fertilization until birth.
  • diurnal: Happening or occurring during daylight, or primarily active during that time.

The dimensions of human development are divided into separate but consecutive stages in human life. They are characterized by prenatal development, toddler, early childhood, late childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, middle adulthood, and old age.

Prenatal development is the process during which a human embryo gestates during pregnancy, from fertilization until birth. The terms prenatal development, fetal development, and embryology are often used interchangeably. The embryonic period in humans begins at fertilization and from birth until the first year, the child is referred to as an infant. The majority of a newborn infant’s time is spent in sleep. At first, this sleep is evenly spread throughout the day and night but after a couple of months, infants generally become diurnal.

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Human Embryogenesis: The first few weeks of embryogenesis in humans begin with the fertilizing of the egg and end with the closing of the neural tube.

Babies between ages of 1 and 2 are called “toddlers. ” In this stage, intelligence is demonstrated through the use of symbols, language use matures, and memory and imagination are developed. In the phase of early childhood, children attend preschool, broaden their social horizons and become more engaged with those around them. In late childhood, intelligence is demonstrated through logical and systematic manipulation of symbols related to concrete objects. Children go through the transition from the world at home to that of school and peers. If children can discover pleasure in intellectual stimulation, being productive, seeking success, they will develop a sense of competence.

Adolescence is the period of life between the onset of puberty and the full commitment to an adult social role. In early adulthood, the person must learn how to form intimate relationships, both in friendship and love. The development of this skill relies on the resolution of other stages. It may be hard to establish intimacy if one has not developed trust or a sense of identity. If this skill is not learned, the alternative is alienation, isolation, a fear of commitment, and the inability to depend on others

Middle adulthood generally refers to the period between ages 40 to 60. During this period, middle-aged adults experience a conflict between generativity and stagnation. They may either feel a sense of contributing to the next generation and their community or a sense of purposelessness. The last and final stage is old age, which refers to those over 60–80 years. During old age, people frequently experience a conflict between integrity and despair.

Sociological Theories of the Self

Sociological theories of the self attempt to explain how social processes such as socialization influence the development of the self.

Learning Objectives

Interpret Mead’s theory of self in term of the differences between “I” and “me”

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • One of the most important sociological approaches to the self was developed by American sociologist George Herbert Mead. Mead conceptualizes the mind as the individual importation of the social process.
  • This process is characterized by Mead as the “I” and the “me. ” The “me” is the social self and the “I” is the response to the “me. ” The “I” is the individual’s impulses. The “I” is self as subject; the “me” is self as object.
  • For Mead, existence in a community comes before individual consciousness. First one must participate in the different social positions within society and only subsequently can one use that experience to take the perspective of others and thus become self-conscious.
  • Primary Socialization occurs when a child learns the attitudes, values, and actions appropriate to individuals as members of a particular culture.
  • Secondary socialization refers to the process of learning the appropriate behavior as a member of a smaller group within the larger society.
  • Group socialization is the theory that an individual’s peer groups, rather than parental figures, influences his or her personality and behavior in adulthood.
  • Organizational socialization is the process whereby an employee learns the knowledge and skills necessary to assume his or her organizational role.
  • In the social sciences, institutions are the structures and mechanisms of social order and cooperation governing the behavior of a set of individuals within a given human collectivity. Institutions include the family, religion, peer group, economic systems, legal systems, penal systems, language and the media.

Key Terms

  • The self: The self is the individual person, from his or her own perspective. Self-awareness is the capacity for introspection and the ability to reconcile oneself as an individual separate from the environment and other individuals.
  • generalized other: the general notion that a person has regarding the common expectations of others within his or her social group
  • socialization: The process of learning one’s culture and how to live within it.
  • community: A group sharing a common understanding and often the same language, manners, tradition and law. See civilization.
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George Herbert Mead: George Herbert Mead (1863–1931) was an American philosopher, sociologist, and psychologist, primarily affiliated with the University of Chicago, where he was one of several distinguished pragmatists. He is regarded as one of the founders of social psychology and the American sociological tradition in general.

Sociological theories of the self attempt to explain how social processes such as socialization influence the development of the self. One of the most important sociological approaches to the self was developed by American sociologist George Herbert Mead. Mead conceptualizes the mind as the individual importation of the social process. Mead presented the self and the mind in terms of a social process. As gestures are taken in by the individual organism, the individual organism also takes in the collective attitudes of others, in the form of gestures, and reacts accordingly with other organized attitudes.

This process is characterized by Mead as the “I” and the “me. ” The “me” is the social self and the “I” is the response to the “me. ” In other words, the “I” is the response of an individual to the attitudes of others, while the “me” is the organized set of attitudes of others which an individual assumes. The “me” is the accumulated understanding of the “generalized other,” i.e. how one thinks one’s group perceives oneself. The “I” is the individual’s impulses. The “I” is self as subject; the “me” is self as object. The “I” is the knower, the “me” is the known. The mind, or stream of thought, is the self-reflective movements of the interaction between the “I” and the “me. ” These dynamics go beyond selfhood in a narrow sense, and form the basis of a theory of human cognition. For Mead the thinking process is the internalized dialogue between the “I” and the “me. ”

Understood as a combination of the “I” and the “me,” Mead’s self proves to be noticeably entwined within a sociological existence. For Mead, existence in a community comes before individual consciousness. First one must participate in the different social positions within society and only subsequently can one use that experience to take the perspective of others and become self-conscious.

Psychological Approaches to the Self

The psychology of self is the study of either the cognitive or affective representation of one’s identity.

Learning Objectives

Discuss the development of a person’s identity in relation to both the Kohut and Jungian self

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • The earliest formulation of the self in modern psychology derived from the distinction between the self as I, the subjective knower, and the self as Me, the object that is known.
  • Heinz Kohut, an American psychologist, theorized that the self was bipolar, and was comprised of two systems of narcissistic perfection, one of which contained ambitions and the other of which contained ideals.
  • In Jungian theory, derived from the psychologist C.G. Jung, the Self is one of several archetypes. It signifies the coherent whole, unifying both the consciousness and unconscious mind of a person.
  • Social constructivists claim that timely and sensitive intervention by adults when a child is on the edge of learning a new task could help children learn new tasks.
  • Attachment theory focuses on open, intimate, emotionally meaningful relationships.
  • The nativism versus empiricism debate focuses on the relationship between innateness and environmental influence in regard to any particular aspect of development.
  • A nativist account of development would argue that the processes in question are innate, that is, they are specified by the organism’s genes. An empiricist perspective would argue that those processes are acquired in interaction with the environment.

Key Terms

  • cognitive: the part of mental functions that deals with logic, as opposed to affective functions which deal with emotions
  • affective: relating to, resulting from, or influenced by the emotions
  • archetype: according to the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, a universal pattern of thought, present in an individual’s unconscious, inherited from the past collective experience of humanity

Psychology of the Self

The psychology of the self is the study of the cognitive or affective representation of one’s identity. In modern psychology, the earliest formulation of the self derived from the distinction between the self as “I,” the subjective knower, and the self as “me,” the object that is known. Put differently, let us say an individual wanted to think about their “self” as an analytic object. They might ask themselves the question, “what kind of person am I? ” That person is still, in that moment, thinking from some perspective, which is also considered the “self. ” Thus, in this case, the “self” is both what is doing the thinking, and also, at the same time, the object that is being thought about. It is from this dualism that the concept of the self initially emerged in modern psychology. Current psychological thought suggests that the self plays an integral part in human motivation, cognition, affect, and social identity.

The Kohut Self

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Carl Gustav Jung: According to Jung, the Self is one of several archetypes.

Heinz Kohut, an American psychologist, theorized a bipolar self that was comprised of two systems of narcissistic perfection, one of which contained ambitions and the other of which contained ideals. Kohut called the pole of ambitions the narcissistic self (later called the grandiose self). He called the pole of ideals the idealized parental imago. According to Kohut, the two poles of the self represented natural progressions in the psychic life of infants and toddlers.

The Jungian Self

In Jungian theory, derived from the psychologist C.G. Jung, the Self is one of several archetypes. It signifies the coherent whole, unifying both the conscious and unconscious mind of a person. The Self, according to Jung, is the end product of individuation, which is defined as the process of integrating one’s personality. For Jung, the Self could be symbolized by either the circle (especially when divided into four quadrants), the square, or the mandala. He also believed that the Self could be symbolically personified in the archetypes of the Wise Old Woman and Wise Old Man.

In contrast to earlier theorists, Jung believed that an individual’s personality had a center. While he considered the ego to be the center of an individual’s conscious identity, he considered the Self to be the center of an individual’s total personality. This total personality included within it the ego, consciousness, and the unconscious mind. To Jung, the Self is both the whole and the center. While Jung perceived the ego to be a self-contained, off-centered, smaller circle contained within the whole, he believed that the Self was the greater circle. In addition to being the center of the psyche, Jung also believed the Self was autonomous, meaning that it exists outside of time and space. He also believed that the Self was the source of dreams, and that the Self would appear in dreams as an authority figure that could either perceive the future or guide an individual’s present.