Cultural differences in mirror self-recognition in 18 month-old Singaporean toddlers

Lim, Jun Pei, Suárez, Lidia, Sim, Litwee, Broekman, Birit F.P., Yap, Seng Chong, Kwek, Kenneth, Gluckman, Peter, Saw, Seang-Mei, Meaney, Michael, and Rifkin-Graboi, Anne (2015) Cultural differences in mirror self-recognition in 18 month-old Singaporean toddlers. In: Proceedings of the 4th Annual International Conference on Cognitive and Behavioral Psychology. pp. 70-72. From: CBP 2015: 4th Annual International Conference on Cognitive and Behavioral Psychology, 9-10 February 2015, Singapore.

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Western societies put emphasis on the development of the individual self, while Asian societies prioritize the sense of the self in relation to social groups. In Western populations roughly 60% of 18-month-old toddlers show self-referential behavior upon viewing themselves reflected in a mirror. Self-referential behavior has been used as a measure of self-recognition and development of the self. The aim of the current study was to investigate possible cultural differences in toddler's self-referential behavior while looking at themselves in a mirror. The current study involved 329 18-months-old Southeast Asian, multi-ethnic Singaporean toddlers taking part in a larger prospective mother-offspring birth cohort study GUSTO. In contrast to Western results, only 31.3 % of Singaporean toddlers showed mirror self-recognition behavior. However, rates significantly differed by ethnicity, with Singaporean Indian toddlers showing more self-referential behavior than Singaporean Malay and Chinese toddlers. Thus, collectivistic values could explain differences in self-referential behavior and expression of self-recognition. We propose that the sense of the self might have developed similarly across different cultures but that other variables, such as parenting styles, might influence self-referential behavior.

Item ID: 37729
Item Type: Conference Item (Research - E1)
ISSN: 2251-1865
Keywords: cultural differences; mirror self-recognition; toddlers
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Funders: National Research Foundation (NRF), Abbott Nutrition, National Medical Research Council of Singapore (NMRC), Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences
Projects and Grants: NRF Translational Clinical Research Program, NMRC TCR/004-NUS/2008
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2015 01:15
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170102 Developmental Psychology and Ageing @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences @ 80%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified @ 20%
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