The Looking Glass Self - Unit 3 - Chapter 4.2 -

Socialization and the Self

Charles Cooley... well we'll come back to him.

Self Concept

an image of yourself as having an Identity separate from other people


Cooley developed the "Looking glass self" concept to explain how we form our concept of self

The Looking Glass Self

An image of yourself based on what you believe others think of you

The Looking Glass Self (LGS) is a product of a three-stage process that is constantly taking place:
  1. We imagine how we appear to others
  2. We imagine the reactions of others to our (imagined) appearance
  3. We evaluate ourselves according to how we imagined others have judged us

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent"-Eleanor Roosevelt

How is this statement an example of the Looking Glass Self?

Because the looking glass we use comes from our imaginations, it may be distorted

This happens rapidly-- It is not a conscious process.

Even if our interpretation of other's actions is distorted, the consequences to our self concept are just as real as if it were true

Role Taking

assuming the viewpoint of another person and using that viewpoint to shape the self concept

"You want me to be the bad guy? Fine... Now I'm the bad guy"

...Through role taking, we can imagine ourselves in different scenes and anticipate what others will say or do...

According to Mead...who?

GeorgeMead sociologist (1863-1931)

According to Mead, the ability for role taking is the product of a three-stage process. He called these the imitation stage, the play stage, and the game stage.

Mead's 3 Stages

1. The Imitation Stage is the first stage in the development of role taking; children begin to imitate behaviors without understanding why

2. The Play Stage is reached around the age of 3 or 4; children start acting in ways they imagine people would (mother, Father, police officer, teacher, astronaut, etc.)

3. The Game Stage marks a change in how sophisticated a child's play has become. There are multiple players and rules are in place. Children in this stage anticipate the actions of others based on these rules.

Generalized Other

integrated conception of the norms, values, and beliefs of one's community or society.

For Example, at a certain age "being an honest person is no longer merely a matter of pleasing significant others (like parents). Rather, it begins to seem wrong in principle to be dishonest."


Created with images by 422737 - "magnifying glass magnification larger view" • Pexels - "camera man mirror" • ZoeLouisePhotography - "Glass Bottle"

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