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date: 26 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

What constitutes self-concept? Current developmental literature suggests that there are different layers of meaning attached to self-concept and self-experience. Three distinct basic layers are discussed: the minimal self, the objectified self, and the personified self. These layers emerge and accumulate successively in child development. Each corresponds to specific levels of representational complexities that accumulate “like onion layers” in an orderly fashion between birth and approximately 10 to12 years of age, the developmental span considered here. This development is part of a general meaning-making construction of what constitutes selfhood (what it is made of). It illuminates the representational content and what the notion of self is referring to in development, from birth and in the course of infancy, when children start to recognize themselves in mirrors by their second birthday, show embarrassment, refer to themselves by using personal pronouns and adjectives such as I, me, or mine!, but also start to express righteousness and prejudice toward others.

Keywords: self-concept, minimal self, self-consciousness, co-consciousness, moral sense, affiliation, ownership

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