The origins and uses of self-awarenesss or the mental representation of me

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This paper explores the meaning and the development of consciousness in the human child. The idea of a self is made up of at least two major aspects. These can be referred to as the machinery of the self and the mental state of the idea of "me" The machinery of the self involves all unconscious, unreferenced action of the body, including its physiology and its processing of information that in turn includes cognitions and emotional states, which are unavailable to consciousness. The mental state or the idea of "me" is that part of the self that makes reference to itself. This mental state develops over the first 2. years of life and is a function of both brain maturation processes as well as socialization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-129
Number of pages10
JournalConsciousness and cognition
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2011


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


  • Consciousness
  • Knowledge of the self
  • Machinery of self
  • Mirror recognition
  • Pretend play
  • Self-recognition

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