What is OpenPSYC?

OpenPSYC is a free online resource for students in Introduction to Psychology courses. Use the links on the right to learn more about the site, visit a course module or search by keyword.

Self Awareness and Theory of Mind

What does it mean to be conscious? 
Generally, it means you are aware of the sensations, thoughts, motivations, and emotions that are occurring.  Beyond that, what does it mean to say that you are conscious of yourself as an individual?  We have already talked about metacognition and Theory of Mind, but we will take a step back and see what it means to be self-aware.

To be self-aware is, in a sense, to understand that you exist as a separate entity from the rest of the world. One creative way of assessing self-awareness is through a self-recognition test.

From this video, you should be able to define self-recognition and how we can test for a sense of self-awareness it with children and chimpanzees.  Be sure to note the age at which self-recognition develops in children.

Self-Recognition in Apes

            Self-Recognizing Elephant

So self-recognition is the first step and developing theory of mind.  Theory of mind is an even higher level of self-awareness.  Watch this video about theory of mind:

            Theory of Mind - Robert Seyfarth, RDF TV