Infant's Emerging Sensitivity to Others' Evaluation

by Sara Valencia Botto

Institution: Emory University
Year: 2016
Keywords: Developmental psychology; Cognitive psychology; Experimental psychology; self-consciousness; social cognition
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2134987
Full text PDF: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/rndms


By four years of age, children, like adults, strategically modify their behavior in the presence of an observer as a means for self-presentation. While this is evidence of an evaluative audience perception (i.e., sensitivity to others' potential social evaluation), the ontogeny of this phenomenon remains underspecified. Two studies capture the emergence of an evaluative audience perception in late infancy. In a first study 14-24 month old infants (N=49) are shown to display differential engagement towards a novel toy, as well as enhanced expression of embarrassment when the experimenter was attentive toward them. Passing as well as the way the child passed the classic Mirror Mark Test predicted such audience effect. In a second study 20 month-old infants (N=51), were tested in a situation where the Experimenter previously modelled both a positive and a negative outcome on a mechanical toy via a remote control device. Results show that infants become strategic in choosing to reproduce more positive outcomes when the Experimenter is attentive as opposed to inattentive toward them. Controlling for age, passing the Mirror Mark Test did not predict such self-evaluative audience perception. We interpret these data as confirming that an evaluative audience perception emerges by 24 months. Results are discussed in relation to an emergent self-concept that is heavily shaped by how others perceive us. TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION 3 Self-Evaluation in Infancy 5 The Current Study 9 STUDY 1 11 METHOD 11 Participants 11 Materials 12 Procedure 13 Coding 14 RESULTS 15 Robot Task 15 Emotion 16 Mirror Mark Test 16 DISCUSSION 17 STUDY 2 20 METHOD 20 Participants 20 Materials 20 Procedure 20 Coding 22 RESULTS 22 Robot Task 22 Temperament 23 Emotion23 DISCUSSION 23 GENERAL DISCUSSION 25 CONCLUSION 28 REFERENCES 30 FIGURE 1a 34 FIGURE 1b 35 FIGURE 1c 36 FIGURE 2a 37 FIGURE 3a 38 FIGURE 3b 38 Advisors/Committee Members: Brennan, Patricia (Committee Member), Fivush, Robyn (Committee Member), Rochat, Philippe (Thesis Advisor).