chapter  5
The Self: Elevated in Consciousness and Extended in Time
WithDaniel J. Povinelli
Pages 22

Some scholars may interpret these anecdotes as nothing more than mere curiosities involving a young child’s reactions to the cultural artefacts of mirrors and photographs. In contrast, in this chapter I reinterpret Jacqueline’s comments in light of recent research that has explored the child’s developing understanding of the self’s place in time. In doing so I hope to show how Jacqueline’s comments may be emblematic of the unique manner in which very young children conceive of the self-a manner that does not include the idea that the self extends in time. I show how mirrors, video images, and photographs can be used as tools to reveal transitions in the development of an adultlike understanding of the temporal breadth of the self. I propose that the development of an explicit and temporally extended self-concept can be understood as a developmentally complex process, tapping different conceptual and attentional structures at different ages.