Topics: Sociology, Psychology, Mind Pages: 2 (797 words) Published: December 17, 2013
In hypothesizing the framework for the looking glass self, Cooley said, "the mind is mental" because "the human mind is social." Beginning as children, humans begin to define themselves within the context of their first social group, their family, and later within society at large. This is demonstrated in the manner a child learns that the symbol of his/her crying will elicit a response from his/her parents, not only when they are in need of necessities such as food, but also as a symbol to receive their attention. Schubert references in Cooley's On Self and Social Organization, "a growing solidarity between mother and child parallels the child's increasing competence in using significant symbols. This simultaneous development is itself a necessary pre-requisite for the child's ability to adopt the perspectives of other participants in social relationships and, thus, for the child's capacity to develop a social self." Such as crying in the example above, symbolic interaction is the basis of the looking glass self, because the use of symbols is dependent on humans' ability to first agree upon the meaning of the symbol, and second the ability to interpret the symbol. In regard to the looking glass self, this is demonstrated in the method in which humans assign characteristics to words, images, behaviors, and symbols. The words "good" or "bad" only hold relevance after one learns the connotation and societal meaning of the words. The main point is that people shape their self-concepts based on their understanding of how others perceive them. We form our self-image as the reflections of the response and evaluations of others in our environment. As children we were treated in a variety of ways. If parents, relatives and other important people look at a child as smart, they will tend to raise him with certain types of expectations. As a consequence the child will eventually believe that he is a smart person. This is a process that continues when we grow up. For...
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