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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Abstract

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 (Refereed Research Paper - E1)
Keywords: cultural differences; mirror self-recognition; toddlers
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ISSN: 2251-1865
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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