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Flashcards in Development Of Social Cognition Deck (26):

What is social cognition?

Describes the mental processes we use when engaged in social interaction e.g.

we make decisions on how to behave based on our understanding of a social situation & both the understanding and decision making are cognitive processes


What is perspective taking?

Our ability to appreciate a social situation from the point of view of other people


What is Piaget’s egocentrism and 3 mountains task an example of?

Physical perspective taking (physically understanding what someone else can see)


And what is social perspective taking?

Understanding what someone else is feeling or thinking


What did Piaget believe about social cognitive development?

He believed in domain general cognitive development - so as your cognitive development improves, so does your social perspective


However, what did Selman propose?

That development of social perspective taking is a separate process - this is a domain specific approach to explaining cognitive development


Selman’s perspective taking research:

Looked at changed that occurred with age in children’s responses to scenario’s in which they were asked to take the role of other people in situations

PROCEDURE: 30 boys and 30 girls took part
20 aged 4, 20 ages 5 & 20 aged 6
All were individually given a task designed to measure role-taking ability and this involved asking them how each person felt in various scenarios


Selman’s perspective taking research:

What was the scenario and task (done in pairs)?

SCENARIO: a child called Holly has promised her father she will no longer climb tress. But she then came across her friend whose kitten was stuck up a tree.
THE TASK: describe and explain how each person would feel if Holly did or did not climb the tree to rescue the kitten


Selman’s perspective taking research:

A number of distinct levels of role taking were identified.
Selman found that the level of role taking correlated with age, suggesting a clear developmental sequence.


Selman’s stage theory:

Selman constructed a 5 stage model of the development of perspective taking using the children’s answer to his dilemmas.


What is the key feature of Selman’s stage theory?

It is the progression from being egocentric & unaware of any perspective but their own, to being quite mature and considering a number of perspectives & drawing conclusions in line with social norms


Selman’s stage theory of perspective taking:

3-5 yrs egocentric stage

The child in this stage can not distinguish between their own emotions and those of others. They can generally identify emotional states in others but do not understand what social behaviour may have caused them.


6-8 years
Social-informational perspective taking

The child can now tell the difference between their own point of view and that of others, but they can usually focus on only one of these perspectives.


8-10 years
Self-reflective perspective taking

The child can put themselves in the position of another person and fully appreciate their perspective. However, they can only take on board one point of view at a time


10-12 years
Mutual perspective taking

Children are now able to look at a situation from their own and another’s poi v of view at the same time


12-15 years
Social and conventional system perspective taking

Young people become able to see that sometimes understanding others’ viewpoints is not enough to allow people to reach agreement. This is why social conventions are needed to keep order


What did Selman believe about the development through these stages?

It is based on both maturity and experience


Selman’s original research that supports that the stages are progressive age related developmental and sequential: (AO3)

-involved a cross section sample of 225 participants of various ages ranging from 4 to 32.
-In the first analysis conducted two years later 48 boys were re-interviewed. It was found that 40 of the boys had made gains in their level of perspective taking and none has regressed.

-a further analysis conducted 3 years later involved 41 boys & this again confirmed the stages are progressive age related developmental and sequential.


What did Keating and Clark suggest the reason for this was?

Suggested that the reason for this sequence may be due to the fact that these stages are closely related to Piaget’s stages of development


Fitzgerald and White:
the importance of the role of experience in the stages of social development

-they looked at the development of perspective taking skills in relation to parental style
-they found that children showed more growth when parents encouraged them to make perspective of the victim during instances when the child may have caused harm to someone else

-this shows that development isn’t purely cognitive but also related to social experience


What else did Fitzgerald and White find about perspective taking skills in relation to aggression and pro social behaviour?

They found that the maturity of perspective taking skills was negatively related to aggression and positively related to pro social behaviour.


What did Selman find out about children who were poor in perspective taking skills?

Had more difficulty maintaining social relationships and were less popular.


What do Fitzgerald and White and Selman’s research suggests?

It suggests perspective taking skills lead to important social development or can be used to explain the lack of social development.


Selman AO3:
Correlation, not cause and effect

- much of the research is correlational

-correlation does not mean that perspective taking skills cause higher levels of social competence e.g. more popular children interact with more people & may be the reason for their more advanced skills

-if this is the case then perspective taking skills are simply a marker of how socially developed a child is


How can Selman’s development of perspective taking skills be applied to real life?

-he argued that the development of perspective taking skills can be fostered by experience

-he argues that the facilitation of these skills is one of the fundamental goals of primary schools today and one way to do this with younger children is through play

-Social Skills Training (SST) is used in therapeutic settings with people with mental disorders


AO2 - how can SST be used to help anti-social criminal behaviour?

-one reason for anti-social criminal behaviour is that some criminals lack empathy & perspective-taking skills.

-therefore SST programmes have been developed where prisoners are taught perspective taking skills to increase their empathic concern for others & their pro-social behaviour on release from prison