Distinguishing three levels in explicit self-awareness

Consciousness and Cognition 20 (3):578-585 (2011)
Abstract
This paper focuses on the development of explicit self-awareness in children. Mirror self-recognition has been the most popular paradigm used to assess this ability in children. Nevertheless, according to Rochat , there are, at least, three different levels of explicit self-awareness. We therefore designed three different self-recognition tasks, each corresponding to one of these levels . We observed a decrease in performance across the three tasks. This supports a developmental scale in self-awareness. Besides, the masked self-recognition performance makes it possible to assess the final and the most sophisticated level of self-awareness, i.e. the external self. To our best knowledge, this task is the first attempt to evaluate the external self in preverbal children. Our results indicate that 22-month old children show awareness of their external self or, at least, that this ability is in the process of being acquired
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