Young Children's Self-Concepts Include Representations of Abstract Traits and the Global Self

Andrei Cimpian, Matthew D. Hammond, Giulia Mazza, Grace Corry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

There is debate about the abstractness of young children's self-concepts—specifically, whether they include representations of (a) general traits and abilities and (b) the global self. Four studies (N = 176 children aged 4–7) suggested these representations are indeed part of early self-concepts. Studies 1 and 2 reexamined prior evidence that young children cannot represent traits and abilities. The results suggested that children's seemingly immature judgments in previous studies were due to peculiarities of the task context not the inadequacy of children's self-concepts. Similarly, Studies 3 and 4 revealed that, contrary to claims of immaturity in reasoning about the global self, young children update their global self-evaluations in flexible, context-sensitive ways. This evidence suggests continuity in the structure of self-concepts across childhood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1786-1798
Number of pages13
JournalChild development
Volume88
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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