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Empathy and self-awareness, the most important traits of a leader … – YourStory.com

Posted: September 7, 2017 at 5:45 pm


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In a chat with YourStory, Deep talks about how his companys culture to be empathetic to customers and employees has helped SAPs growth in the country.

Deb Deep Sengupta, President and MD, SAP India, has his priorities for his company as well as for himself as a leader very straight. Ask him what he believes is the job of the head of a company, and pat comes an analogy on player-coach: essentially a coach who leads from the front but one who does not hesitate to get his hands dirty in the field with his players every once in awhile.

SAPs plan for India is clear; the enterprise software multinational wants to not just make efforts to increase growth and rake in profits, but the company wants to create a social impact as well.

Stressing on the concept of growing through giving back, Deep says, Social impact should not be just for NGOs. There is no point if the company cannot be empathetic and create social impact.

Among its many initiatives, what stands out is the companys digital literacy programme, in partnership with its many customers including ITC and L&T to provide tech knowledge to rural youth, women and specially-abled people in all parts of the country.

But what is the company doing with startups? Deep elaborates: We have an entrepreneurship development programme with IIT Bombay and Ahmedabad. We also have a big facility in Bangalore and Gurgaon, which has a startup studio, where people can come in, meet with mentors and can bounce off ideas. SAP taps into its global network and provides access to portals and systems. Also, we give access to private equity and venture capital fund. SAP has a fund called Sapphire Ventures. We look at interesting ideas and do select M&As to be part of our portfolio. We also to connect with PEs in our network.

Deep makes a passionate case for technology-led companies, pointing out that all the flak they receive for not creating jobs is misplaced. E-commerce and aggregating companies have created 1.3 million jobs in the past five years, he adds.

Deep, who has an 11-year-old son and two dogs, follows the same rule of empathy at home as well, often looking from his sons point of view when he is backed into a corner.

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Empathy and self-awareness, the most important traits of a leader ... - YourStory.com

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September 7th, 2017 at 5:45 pm

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STSR tests confirm that dogs have self-awareness – Phys.org – Phys.Org

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A new study carried out by the Department of Psychology at Barnard College in the U.S. used a sniff test to evaluate the ability of dogs to recognize themselves. The results have been published in the journal Behavioural Processes.

The experiment confirms the hypothesis of dog self-cognition proposed last year by Prof. Roberto Cazzolla Gatti of the Biological Institute of the Tomsk State University, Russia. Dr. Alexandra Horowitz, the lead researcher, wrote, "While domestic dogs, Canis familiaris, have been found to be skillful at social cognitive tasks and even some meta-cognitive tasks, they have not passed the test of mirror self-recognition (MSR)."

Prof. Horowitz borrowed the "Sniff test of self-recognition (STSR)" proposed by Prof. Cazzolla Gatti in 2016 to shed light on methods of testing for self-recognition, and applied it to 36 domestic dogs accompanied by their owners.

This study confirmed the previous evidence proposed with the STSR by Dr. Cazzolla Gatti showing that "dogs distinguish between the olfactory 'image' of themselves when modified: Investigating their own odour for longer when it had an additional odour accompanying it than when it did not. Such behaviour implies a recognition of the odour as being of or from 'themselves.'"

Prof. Cazzolla Gatti firstly suggested the hypothesis of self-cognition in dogs in a 2016 pioneering paper entitled after the novel by Lewis Carroll "Self-consciousness: beyond the looking-glass and what dogs found there."

As the Associate Professor of the Tomsk State University anticipated: "this sniff-test could change the way some experiments on animal behaviour are validated." Soon, the study of Dr. Horowitz followed.

"I believe that dogs and other animals, being much less sensitive to visual stimuli than humans and many apes, cannot pass the mirror test because of the sensory modality chosen by the investigator to test self-awareness. This in not necessarily due to the absence of this cognitive ability in some animal species," says Cazzolla Gatti.

Prof. Cazzolla Gatti's idea, as recently confirmed by Dr. Horowitz on a larger samples of dogs, shows that "the sniff test of self-recognition (STSR), even when applied to multiple individuals living in groups and with different ages and sexes, provides significant evidence of self-awareness in dogs, and can play a crucial role in showing that this capacity is not a specific feature of only great apes, humans and a few other animals, but it depends on the way in which researchers try to verify it."

The innovative approach to test the self-awareness highlighted the need to shift the paradigm of the anthropocentric idea of consciousness to a species-specific perspective. As Prof. Cazzolla Gatti anticipated last year in his paper: "We would never expect that a mole or a bat can recognize themselves in a mirror, but now we have strong empirical evidence to suggest that if species other than primates are tested on chemical or auditory perception base we could get really unexpected results."

This new study published in the journal Behavioural Processes, validating the sniff test of self-recognition (STSR) and the hypothesis of a self-awareness in dogs and other animals developed by Prof. Roberto Cazzolla Gatti, pushes ethologists to move "beyond the looking-glass to see what other animals can found there."

Explore further: Dogs (and probably many other animals) have a conscience too

More information: Alexandra Horowitz, Smelling themselves: Dogs investigate their own odours longer when modified in an "olfactory mirror" test, Behavioural Processes (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.beproc.2017.08.001

Journal reference: Behavioural Processes

Provided by: National Research Tomsk State University

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STSR tests confirm that dogs have self-awareness - Phys.org - Phys.Org

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September 7th, 2017 at 5:45 pm

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Caroline Donaldson: Self-awareness is key to leadership – The Scotsman

Posted: August 19, 2017 at 8:44 am


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Working with business leaders, I am struck by the challenges that my clients experience, leading companies in such a radically changing and dynamic world.

I believe there are two key traits that are crucial for todays business leaders to help them meet those challenges adaptability and self-awareness.

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Because todays marketplace is so unpredictable, leaders need to be ready to learn fast and move quickly. Their role is to help their organisations adapt and flourish amid the constantly changing political and economic landscape a very different role from the more traditional and structured hierarchies that most of us witnessed earlier in our careers.

The choices are hard, especially when it comes to letting go of some of our core beliefs and ways of thinking that have worked for us in the past. Todays business leaders now need to step back, look at whats happening and what lies ahead, keep asking what is working, learn from their mistakes, and most importantly, learn to thrive from this approach.

A recent McKinsey article, based on research from the worlds largest organisations, highlighted how different everything feels from just a decade ago. Leaders are operating in a bewildering new environment in which very little is certain; the pace is quicker, and the dynamics far more complicated. Business leaders worry that its impossible to stay on top of all the things they need to know. And yet, there are great examples of success where adaptive organisations are leading the way in the market.

Take Amazon for example. I find being a customer so easy, and their response matches what I want. A lot has been written about their CEO Jeff Bezos, but his philosophy of making bold investment decisions, building the culture, taking risks and thinking long term, has resulted in huge global success.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

In todays economic environment, a leader being adaptable is no longer a nice to have, its the new normal if you want your company to deliver a real competitive advantage. There is a Chinese proverb that says that the wise adapt themselves to circumstances, just as water moulds itself to whatever vessel it is in.

Adaptive leaders show clear direction, dedication and ambition traits that inspire others to follow them. These individuals are willing to experiment, take calculated risks, encourage innovation, and have a style that is very open. The essence of this approach is that they learn how to follow, and followers learn how to lead.

Perhaps a more difficult skill to craft is self-awareness. This requires digging deep and looking closely at your personality all of your strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. Its a quality that allows you to understand other people and how they perceive you, your attitude and how you respond to them.

So why do we need to develop greater self-awareness now? Quite simply, because in todays economic climate we need to make changes in how we think, in our emotions and reactions.

Self-awareness is the first step in creating what we want and mastering where we focus our attention, our emotions, reactions, personality and behaviour, determining where we go in life. Until we are aware of this and regularly take a good look at ourselves, we will find it difficult to respond appropriately and keep up with the 21st century challenges.

Any high-performing sports person or musician is relentless in honing their craft. Business leaders need to apply the same principles. That might be learning how to play to their strengths and improving the areas they are weaker on, or surrounding themselves with people whose strengths will complement their own and learn from each other.

Either way, its time for our captains of industry to take a good look at themselves and start building up their leadership muscles!

Caroline Donaldson is director at Kynesis Consulting

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Caroline Donaldson: Self-awareness is key to leadership - The Scotsman

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August 19th, 2017 at 8:44 am

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The Self-Aware Leader – Inside INdiana Business

Posted: August 13, 2017 at 11:47 pm


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There are many characteristics associated with effective leaders; you can find those lists easily, or you can just make a list yourself. If you have read my writing much, you know that I believe that remarkable leaders are learners that they must be learning to be successful in nearly every part of their role. I believe that an important part of our ability to be a learning leader is to be self-aware.

The Oxford Dictionary defines self-awareness as a conscious knowledge of ones own character, feelings, motives, and desires. Given that definition, I want to give you three reasons why you would want to build the skills and habits of self-awareness if you want to be a better leader and some reflection questions for each of these reasons.

Others are watching. Everything in your behavior is being observed and evaluated by those around, especially your team. They are noticing what you do and say, how you do and say it, and even what you arent doing or saying. The degree to which a leader is unaware of their behavior and how it is being perceived by others limits their ability to be successful today, and become more successful tomorrow. To better understand this, consider questions like:

How are people responding to you? In what ways are those responses surprising? How often do you feel misunderstood, or your actions are misinterpreted? Do you recognize other peoples perceptions as feedback to consider?

You impact everything. Like a pebble tossed into a pond, your presence and behavior will necessarily change the way your team operates, what they value and what they believe.

Who you are and how you behave changes the relationships your team members have, the expectations they carry about their work, how productive they are, and what values they carry in their work. As a leader, you must realize how your presence affects the team. To think about this more carefully ask yourself questions like: Do you notice your team (or individuals) changing when you walk into the room? If so, in what ways? How open does your team seem with you? How would you access the level of trust team members have in you?

Consider cause and effect. As it relates to self-awareness, the most important cause and effect relationship starts with your thoughts. What you are thinking impacts your actions, consciously or not, and therefore directly impacts the two items above. Some questions to ask yourself here include:

What are your beliefs about your team and each member of it? What are the most important parts of your job? What do like most about your role as a leader? What do you wish you were better at?

Self-awareness requires introspection: to look inside yourself at what you were thinking and feeling at any moment, and how it lead you to speak and act. When looking back at a situation, you can see how you responded and why, but more importantly, you can see what type of reaction or outcome resulted. Since we mostly operate on auto-pilot, when we stop and reflect on what we did, why we did it and how it worked, we have a chance to change the auto-pilot settings in the future (if we so choose).

If you want to become a more effective leader, decide to be more self-aware, more introspective, and step back to assess yourself using the kinds of questions above. Time spent doing this will almost assuredly aid you in your journey to becoming a more effective leader.

And before we close, one more important thing . . .

The most effective leaders recognize the power of self-awareness, and are also more open to and actively seek feedback from others as a part of their learning and growth. As important as the self-awareness and self-evaluation is, it is just a starting point and fuel for the desire to grow as a leader and a human being.

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The Self-Aware Leader - Inside INdiana Business

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August 13th, 2017 at 11:47 pm

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What are Self-Awareness Skills? – LearningWorks for Kids

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What is Self-Awareness?

Self-Awareness is the thinking skill that focuses on a childs ability to accurately judge their own performance and behavior and to respond appropriately to different social situations.

Self-Awareness helps an individual to tune into their feelings, as well as to the behaviors and feelings of others. For example, a child successfully uses self-awareness skills when they notice they are talking too loudly in a library where other children are trying to work, and then adjusts the volume or their voice to a more considerate level.

Video games allow kids to practice their Self-Awareness skills while in the midst of a fun and immersive gaming experience. Many games require that players think about their thinking in the game in order to overcome challenges, and multi-player games require interpersonal cooperation and understanding of ones teammates intentions.

Watch the video to learn more about how video games can help your child improve their Self-Awareness thinking skill.

Self-Awareness is vital both to a childs academic success as well as their social and emotional growth. This thinking skill facilitates a childs ability to accurately judge their own performance and behavior, as well as their ability to appropriately respond to different social situations.

These are some general strategies and ideas for helping kids to improve their Self-Awareness skills.

There is convincing research demonstrating how early training in thinking, executive, and learning skills improves long-term academic performance. The choice to teach thinking skills rather than academics to kindergarteners results in improved performance in mathematics and reading for middle school students and beyond. In other words, for children to grow up to become accomplished readers and mathematicians, more time should be spent teaching thinking skills to kindergarteners and first graders.

Self-awareness is an important skill in the capacity to assess ones academic performance. Carefully checking over ones work in math, taking the time to see that you have spelled words correctly while writing, and stepping back to make connections and inferences about what one has read are all important skills, particularly at higher levels of learning. Metacognition facilitates reflecting about what one has learned, and not simply memorizing a series of facts.

Playing video games, searching the Internet, trying out the newest app, or Facebooking a friend demands a variety of thinking skills. Proficiency with any of these digital tools requires the ability to apply skills such as Planning, Organization, Working Memory, or Self-Awareness. For children, the attraction of video games and technologies makes them an ideal teaching tool for practicing game-based skills and learning to apply them to school and daily activities.

Self-Awareness is a frequently applied thinking skill for video game players who are looking to improve their performance or simply share their game passions with other players. Players will often ask each other questions, explain their approaches to difficult parts of the game, and reflect on new ways they can use their digital technologies to help them in real-world activities.

The thinking skill of self-awareness is associated primarily with Dawson and Guares executive skill of metacognition. In the LearningWorks for Kids thinking-skills model, we have added the component of social thinking, which reflects an individuals capacity for understanding others feelings and motivations. This is consistent with newer theories of executive functioning, particularly those by Russell Barkley, in which the social component of executive skills is highly valued.

As an executive function, self-awareness refers to the capacity to understand the impact of ones behavior on others, as well as the capacity to connect and empathize with individuals in their environments. Self-awareness helps children to be reflective and think about their actions and behavior, as well as to step back and consider what others in their environment are experiencing. Self-awareness facilitates the capacity to learn from ones mistakes, accept criticism, and listen to and understand the feelings of others.

Assessing the executive function of self-awareness in children involves seeing how effectively they understand themselves and others. The Learning-Works for Kids Thinking Skills Assessment is based on the Executive Skills Questionnaire, which measures self-awareness primarily by childrens capacity to explain the rationale for their decision making, accurately assess their performance, and their capacity to take on other peoples perspectives.

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What are Self-Awareness Skills? - LearningWorks for Kids

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August 13th, 2017 at 4:43 am

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Daniel Goleman: How Self-Awareness Impacts Your Work

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Through my research in emotional intelligence and brain function, Ive developed a model of the mind as a three-tiered building. The first tier is the foundation and where youll find the brain, the control center. The second tier contains the four realms of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, and social skill.

And above that, at the top tier, are leadership competencies. These come from a methodology called Competency Modeling, one of the main developers of which was my mentor at Harvard, David McClelland. Following this model, we identify who will be best in a specific role by evaluating those who have excelled in that positionusing whatever metric appliesand then comparing them with people in the same role with mediocre success. This allows us to identify the competencies found in the stand-outs that you dont find in the average these are the leadership competencies were seeking. Then we hire people with those competencies.

In the decades since McClelland proposed this, it has become standard operating procedure for identifying leadership competencies in most world-class organizations. When I was conducting research for my book Working with Emotional Intelligence, I had access to about 200 competency models that companies use to identify star performers. These are all proprietary since they provide each organization with a competitive edge, but I was able to identify common themes. For example, emotional self-awareness is a leadership competency that shows up in model after model. These are the leaders attuned to their inner signals, recognizing how their feelings affect them and their job performance. They integrate their guiding values into their work. They can deduce the best course of action. They see the big picture and theyre genuine.

I had a discussion about this modeland particularly self-awarenesswith my colleague Daniel Siegel, whos a psychiatrist at UCLA and whose research informs much of my work in emotional intelligence. I asked what his research had to do with the parts of the brain that are self-aware. Ive paraphrased our conversation below.

Whats particularly exciting about this model is how it asks the question, How does emotional intelligence create a bridge between competence creation and the brain?

First off, people hear about the brain and they become glassy-eyed; they think its going to be too complicated. But I think there are some basic statements about the brain that can make us feel much more comfortable Remember that the brain is actually the social organ of the body. Everything that allows us to be social is mediated by certain circuits in the brain. Also, your experiencejust the subjective quality of being alivehas a lot to do with how you use your brain. Lets take self-awareness, as you mentioned. When someone is aware of how feelings affect his reasoning, thinking, and ways of interacting with other peoplehe has self-awareness. This is one component of emotional intelligence. And we know that there are circuits in the brain that allow you to be aware of your mental world that are distinct from the circuits that allow you to be aware of your physical world.

During medical school I knew certain professors who were aware of their internal experiences, and subsequently could also be aware of the experiences of their patients. So if someone was given a difficult diagnosis, they knew to stay with the patient and be attentive to their feelings. Other professors acted as if it was just a diagnosis. And it struck me then that some people could see their minds, and some people couldnt. I termed this ability mindsight.

So as I said, with self-awareness, we know there are certain circuits that map your mental life. These are very different from the brain circuits that map what you physically see, for example. Some people have cultivated these mindsight map-making areas beautifully and have great self-awareness, because its a learnable skill, and other people havent. Some mindsight may be innate, but studies also suggest that your experiences with your parents can generate the kind of reflective competencies upon which self-awareness depends.

Keep in mind that self-awareness isnt just navel-gazing. Its the presence of mind to actually be flexible in how you respond. It allows you to be centered, and know what your body is telling you.

The physiological state of your whole body can drastically affect how you respond in a given situation if you dont pay attention to it. (For example, a study in 2011 indicated that judges hand down stricter sentences when theyre hungry.)

This is also true when were threatened or challenged at work: The brain quickly judges people who are not like us in one certain way, and those like us in another way. If youre not aware of that as a leader of an organization, you may find yourself making all sorts of gut-based decisions that require more reflection.

Read my full conversation with Dr. Siegel in my new collection, The Executive Edge: An Insiders Guide to Outstanding Leadership. Or watch the interview in my video series, Leadership: A Master Class. Apply these concepts with Leadership: A Master Class Training Guide.

The L&D Primer

The Coaching Program

The C-Suite Toolkit

The Competency Builder

The EI Overview

Self-regulation: a star leaders secret weapon

How emotionally intelligent are you?

How leaders build trust

A relaxed mind is a productive mind

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Daniel Goleman: How Self-Awareness Impacts Your Work

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August 13th, 2017 at 4:43 am

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Republicans and Democrats Need More Political Self-Awareness – Memphis Flyer

Posted: August 12, 2017 at 10:45 am


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One of the most famous lines in the English language is actually of Scottish derivation, via the poetry of Robert Burns. As transliterated: "Oh, would some Power the giftee give us, to see ourselves as others see us."

We would recommend that maxim to the cadres of the two major political parties, both of which had indulged and perhaps over-indulged in some positive thinking on their own behalf last week. (See "Politics," p. 8.)

Consider, for instance, the appearance of Vice President Mike Pence as keynote speaker at the state Republican Party's annual Statesmen's banquet in Nashville. He and other prominent Republicans had a high time blowing their own horn, and who can begrudge them on an occasion like that?

The problem was that, here and there, the GOP speakers over-spoke themselves in a way that was seriously misleading, and, worse, self-deceptive. Could the Vice President actually believe, as he stated to a rapturous audience, that President Trump is "restoring our traditional alliances" and that "the world is responding to new American leadership"?

With all due respect to the president (and how much is due is up for debate), and without our attempting to judge the long-range effect of his foreign policy, such as it is, even his closest associates acknowledge that Trump is viewed with wary suspicion by those aforementioned allies for his ever-fluctuating policy declarations, and with outright scorn for his decision to take the U.S. out of the Paris climate accords.

Senator Lamar Alexander, as chairman of the Senate Health Committee, is taking the lead in breaking away from the hitherto closed ranks of Republican Obamacare decriers to hold hearings and entertain bipartisan negotiations on health care. Good for him. But to the crowd in Nashville, Alexander boasted of his prior votes with the rest of the GOP pack to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act and vowed, "I'm not going to rest until the 350,000 Tennesseans who buy their insurance on the free market are able to go into that market and buy insurance that they choose to buy and can afford." There's nothing in that statement that an exponent of the ACA couldn't also endorse.

Meanwhile, the five candidates for the chairmanship of the newly restored Shelby County Democratic Party spoke to some worthy goals in two Memphis forums last week. But almost all of them, including eventual chairman-elect Corey Strong, laid whatseems to us misguided emphasis on a need to createthe mostforbidding litmus test possible for participation in party affairs one that would almost guarantee, say,that anyone who had ever cast a Republican vote need not apply.

Really? Might as well put a sign on party headquarters: "Converts Not Wanted/Take Your Nasty Votes Away."

All we are recommending, to the true believers in either party, is that they step aside from their accustomed bromides and bloviations and make an effort to examine their preconceived notions with a neutral eye. They might actually learn something.

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Republicans and Democrats Need More Political Self-Awareness - Memphis Flyer

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August 12th, 2017 at 10:45 am

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Core SEL Competencies

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Social and emotional learning (SEL) enhances students capacity to integrate skills, attitudes, and behaviors to deal effectively and ethically with daily tasks and challenges. Like many similar frameworks, CASELs integrated framework promotes intrapersonal, interpersonal, and cognitive competence. There are five core competencies that can be taught in many ways across many settings. Many educators and researchers are also exploring how best to assess these competencies.

The ability to accurately recognize ones own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior. The ability to accurately assess ones strengths and limitations, with a well-grounded sense of confidence, optimism, and a growth mindset.

The ability to successfully regulate ones emotions, thoughts, and behaviors in different situations effectively managing stress, controlling impulses, and motivating oneself. The ability to set and work toward personal and academic goals.

The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures. The ability to understand social and ethical norms for behavior and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.

The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. The ability to communicate clearly, listen well, cooperate with others, resist inappropriate social pressure, negotiate conflict constructively, and seek and offer help when needed.

Responsible decision-making

The ability to make constructive choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on ethical standards, safety concerns, and social norms. The realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and a consideration of the well-being of oneself and others.

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Core SEL Competencies

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August 12th, 2017 at 10:45 am

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Self-awareness – Wikipedia

Posted: August 9, 2017 at 10:43 pm


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Self-awareness is the capacity for introspection and the ability to recognize oneself as an individual separate from the environment and other individuals.[1] It is not to be confused with consciousness in the sense of qualia. While consciousness is being aware of one's environment and body and lifestyle, self-awareness is the recognition of that awareness.[2]

There are questions regarding what part of the brain allows us to be self-aware and how we are biologically programmed to be self-aware. V.S. Ramachandran has speculated that mirror neurons may provide the neurological basis of human self-awareness.[3] In an essay written for the Edge Foundation in 2009 Ramachandran gave the following explanation of his theory: "... I also speculated that these neurons can not only help simulate other people's behavior but can be turned 'inward'as it wereto create second-order representations or meta-representations of your own earlier brain processes. This could be the neural basis of introspection, and of the reciprocity of self awareness and other awareness. There is obviously a chicken-or-egg question here as to which evolved first, but... The main point is that the two co-evolved, mutually enriching each other to create the mature representation of self that characterizes modern humans."[4]

Studies have been done mainly on primates to test if self-awareness is present. Apes, monkeys, elephants, and dolphins have been studied most frequently. The most relevant studies to this day that represent self-awareness in animals have been done on chimpanzees, dolphins, and magpies. Self-awareness in animals is tested through mirror self recognition. Animals who show mirror self recognition go through four stages 1) social response, 2) physical mirror inspection, 3) repetitive mirror testing behavior, and 4) the mark test; which involves the animals spontaneously touching a mark on their body which would have been difficult to see without the mirror.[5]

The Red Spot Technique created and experimented by Gordon Gallup[6] studies self-awareness in animals (primates). Toivanen says on a study done on perceptual self-awareness, "The attribution of self-perception to animals is based on a distinction between the experiential awareness of the soul and the intellectual understanding of its essence, a distinction postulated."[7] In this technique, a red odorless spot is placed on an anesthetized primate's forehead. The spot is placed on the forehead so that it can only be seen through a mirror. Once the individual awakens, independent movements toward the spot after seeing their reflection in a mirror are observed. During the Red Spot Technique, after looking in the mirror, chimpanzees used their fingers to touch the red dot that was on their forehead and,after touching the red dot they would even smell their fingertips.[8] "Animals that can recognize themselves in mirrors can conceive of themselves," says Gallup. Another prime example are elephants. Three elephants were exposed to large mirrors where experimenters studied the reaction when the elephants saw their reflection. These elephants were given the "litmus mark test" in order to see whether they were aware of what they were looking at. This visible mark was applied on the elephants and the researchers reported a large progress with self-awareness. The elephants shared this success rate with other animals such as monkeys and dolphins.[9]

Chimpanzees and other apes species which have been studied extensively compare the most to humans with the most convincing findings and straightforward evidence in the relativity of self-awareness in animals so far.[10] Dolphins were put to a similar test and achieved the same results. Diana Reiss, a psycho-biologist at the New York Aquarium discovered that bottlenose dolphins can recognize themselves in mirrors.[11]

Researchers also used the mark test or mirror test [12] to study the magpie's self-awareness. As a majority of birds are blind below the beak, Prior and colleagues[10] marked the birds neck with three different colors: red, yellow and a black imitation, as magpies are originally black. When placed in front of a mirror, the birds with the red and yellow spots began scratching at their necks, signaling the understanding of something different being on their bodies. During one trial with a mirror and a mark, three out of the five magpies showed a minimum of one example of self-directed behavior. The magpies explored the mirror by moving toward it and looking behind it. One of the magpies, Harvey, during several trials would pick up objects, pose, do some wing-flapping, all in front of the mirror with the objects in his beak. This represents a sense of self-awareness; knowing what is going on within himself and in the present. The authors suggest that self-recognition in birds and mammals may be a case of convergent evolution, where similar evolutionary pressures result in similar behaviors or traits, although they arrive at them via different routes.[13]

A few slight occurrences of behavior towards the magpie's own body happened in the trial with the black mark and the mirror. It is an assumption in this study[10] that the black mark may have been slightly visible on the black feathers. Prior and Colleagues,[10] stated "This is an indirect support for the interpretation that the behavior towards the mark region was elicited by seeing the own body in the mirror in conjunction with an unusual spot on the body."

The behaviors of the magpies clearly contrasted with no mirror present. In the no-mirror trials, a non-reflective gray plate of the same size and in the same position as the mirror was swapped in. There were not any mark directed self-behaviors when the mark was present, in color, or in black.[10] Prior and Colleagues'[10] data quantitatively matches the findings in chimpanzees. In summary of the mark test,[10] the results show that magpies understand that a mirror image represents their own body; magpies show to have self-awareness.

A new study, however, revolutionizes the idea of self-awareness in animals and suggests a new ethological approach, which may shed light on different ways of checking for cognition, and reopens the debate of ethologists (and philosophers) on consciousness. The research conducted by Roberto Cazzolla Gatti, associate professor at Tomsk State University in Russia and published in 2015 in the journal Ethology, Ecology and Evolution,[14] with the title borrowed from the novel by Lewis Carroll Self-consciousness: beyond the looking-glass and what dogs found there, could change the way some experiments on animal behaviour are validated.

I believe said prof. Cazzolla Gatti being much less sensitive to visual stimuli with respect to what, for example, humans and many apes are, it is likely that the failure of dogs and other animals in the mirror test is mainly due to sensory modality chosen by the investigator to test the self-awareness and not, necessarily, to the absence of this latter in some animal species.[15]

The study shows that the sniff test of self-recognition (STSR)[16], as defined by the Italian scientist in his study, even when applied to multiple individuals living in groups and with different ages and sexes, provides significant evidences of self-awareness in dogs, and can play a crucial role in showing that this capacity is not a specific feature of only great apes, humans and a few other animals, but it depends on the way in which researchers try to verify it.

Attempts to verify this idea have been made before, but most of them were only observational, lacked empirical evidences or had been carried out only with a single individual and not repeated systematically with other dogs of different sex and age (for example the ethologist Marc Bekoff in 2001 used a "yellow snow test[17]" to measure how long his dog was sniffing his scent of urine and those of the other dogs in the area). Therefore, the final test of self-recognition in a species phylogenetically distant from apes (thus with different sensory modalities and communication behaviour) as the dog, was not obtained.

The innovative approach to test the self-awareness with a smell test "highlights the need to shift the paradigm of the anthropocentric idea of consciousness to a species-specific perspective[18]" - said Roberto Cazzolla Gatti - "We would never expect that a mole or a bat can recognize theirselves in a mirror, but now we have strong empirical evidences to suggest that if species other than primates are tested on chemical or auditory perception base we could get really unexpected results.[18]

Just as Swiss cleaning robots perform behaviors that effectively cleans a room without being aware of it or having any program to detect debris, an organism can be effectively altruistic without being self-aware, aware of any distinction between egoism and altruism, or aware of qualia in others. This by simple reactions to specific situations which happens to benefit other individuals in the organism's natural environment. If self-awareness led to a necessity of an emotional empathy mechanism for altruism and egoism being default in its absence, that would have precluded evolution from a state without self-awareness to a self-aware state in all social animals. The ability of the theory of evolution to explain self-awareness can be rescued by abandoning the hypothesis of self-awareness being a basis for cruelty.[19][20]

Self-awareness has been called "arguably the most fundamental issue in psychology, from both a developmental and an evolutionary perspective."[21]

Self-awareness theory, developed by Duval and Wicklund in their 1972 landmark book A theory of objective self awareness, states that when we focus our attention on ourselves, we evaluate and compare our current behavior to our internal standards and values. This elicits a state of objective self-awareness. We become self-conscious as objective evaluators of ourselves.[22] However self-awareness is not to be confused with self-consciousness.[23] Various emotional states are intensified by self-awareness. However, some people may seek to increase their self-awareness through these outlets. People are more likely to align their behavior with their standards when made self-aware. People will be negatively affected if they don't live up to their personal standards. Various environmental cues and situations induce awareness of the self, such as mirrors, an audience, or being videotaped or recorded. These cues also increase accuracy of personal memory.[24] In one of Demetriou's neo-Piagetian theories of cognitive development, self-awareness develops systematically from birth through the life span and it is a major factor for the development of general inferential processes.[25] Moreover, a series of recent studies showed that self-awareness about cognitive processes participates in general intelligence on a par with processing efficiency functions, such as working memory, processing speed, and reasoning.[26]Albert Bandura's theory of self-efficacy builds on our varying degrees of self-awareness. It is "the belief in one's capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to manage prospective situations." A person's belief in their ability to succeed sets the stage to how they think, behave and feel. Someone with a strong self-efficacy, for example, views challenges as mere tasks that must be overcome, and are not easily discouraged by setbacks. They are aware of their flaws and abilities and choose to utilize these qualities to the best of their ability. Someone with a weak sense of self-efficacy evades challenges and quickly feels discouraged by setbacks. They may not be aware of these negative reactions, and therefore do not always change their attitude. This concept is central to Bandura's social cognitive theory, "which emphasizes the role of observational learning, social experience, and reciprocal determinism in the development of personality."[27]

Individuals become conscious of themselves through the development of self-awareness.[21] This particular type of self-development pertains to becoming conscious of one's own body and mental state of mind including thoughts, actions, ideas, feelings and interactions with others.[28] "Self-awareness does not occur suddenly through one particular behavior: it develops gradually through a succession of different behaviors all of which relate to the self."[29] The monitoring of one's mental states is called metacognition and it is considered to be an indicator that there is some concept of the self.[30] It is developed through an early sense of non-self components using sensory and memory sources. In developing selfawareness through self-exploration and social experiences one can broaden his social world and become more familiar with the self.

According to Emory University's Philippe Rochat, there are five levels of self-awareness which unfold in early development and six potential prospects ranging from "Level 0" (having no self-awareness) advancing complexity to "Level 5" (explicit self-awareness).[21]

By the time an average toddler reaches 18 months they will discover themselves and recognize their own reflection in the mirror. By the age of 24 months the toddler will observe and relate their own actions to those actions of other people and the surrounding environment.[31] There are multiple experiments that show a child's self-awareness. In what has come to be known as The Shopping Cart Task, "Children were asked to push a shopping cart to their mothers but in attempting to do so they had to step on the mat and in consequence, their body weight prevented the cart from moving".[32]

Around school age a child's awareness of personal memory transitions into a sense of one's own self. At this stage, a child begins to develop interests along with likes and dislikes. This transition enables the awareness of an individual's past, present, and future to grow as conscious experiences are remembered more often.[31]

As a child's self-awareness increases they tend to separate and become their own person. Their cognitive and social development allows "the taking of another's perspective and the accepting of inconsistencies."[33] By adolescence, a coherent and integrated self-perception normally emerges. This very personal emerging perspective continues to direct and advance an individual's self-awareness throughout their adult life.

One becomes conscious of their emotions during adolescence. Most children are aware of emotions such as shame, guilt, pride and embarrassment by the age of two, but do not fully understand how those emotions affect their life.[34] By age 13, children become more in touch with these emotions and begin to apply them to their own lives. A study entitled "The Construction of the Self" found that many adolescents display happiness and self-confidence around friends, but hopelessness and anger around parents due to the fear of being a disappointment. Teenagers were also shown to feel intelligent and creative around teachers, and shy, uncomfortable and nervous around people they were not familiar with.[35]

An early philosophical discussion of self-awareness is that of John Locke. Locke was apparently influenced by Ren Descartes' statement normally translated 'I think, therefore I am' (Cogito ergo sum). In chapter XXVII "On Identity and Diversity" of Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689) he conceptualized consciousness as the repeated self-identification of oneself through which moral responsibility could be attributed to the subjectand therefore punishment and guiltiness justified, as critics such as Nietzsche would point out, affirming "...the psychology of conscience is not 'the voice of God in man'; it is the instinct of cruelty ... expressed, for the first time, as one of the oldest and most indispensable elements in the foundation of culture."[36][37][38] John Locke does not use the terms self-awareness or self-consciousness though.[39]

According to Locke, personal identity (the self) "depends on consciousness, not on substance.[40] We are the same person to the extent that we are conscious of our past and future thoughts and actions in the same way as we are conscious of our present thoughts and actions. If consciousness is this "thought" which doubles all thoughts, then personal identity is only founded on the repeated act of consciousness: "This may show us wherein personal identity consists: not in the identity of substance, but ... in the identity of consciousness."[40] For example, one may claim to be a reincarnation of Plato, therefore having the same soul. However, one would be the same person as Plato only if one had the same consciousness of Plato's thoughts and actions that he himself did. Therefore, self-identity is not based on the soul. One soul may have various personalities.

Locke argues that self-identity is not founded either on the body or the substance, as the substance may change while the person remains the same. "Animal identity is preserved in identity of life, and not of substance", as the body of the animal grows and changes during its life.[40] describes a case of a prince and a cobbler in which the soul of the prince is transferred to the body of the cobbler and vice versa. The prince still views himself as a prince, though he no longer looks like one. This border-case leads to the problematic thought that since personal identity is based on consciousness, and that only oneself can be aware of his consciousness, exterior human judges may never know if they really are judgingand punishingthe same person, or simply the same body. Locke argues that one may be judged for the actions of one's body rather than one's soul, and only God knows how to correctly judge a man's actions. Men also are only responsible for the acts of which they are conscious. This forms the basis of the insanity defense which argues that one cannot be held accountable for acts in which they were unconsciously irrational, or mentally ill[41] In reference to man's personality, Locke claims that "whatever past actions it cannot reconcile or appropriate to that present self by consciousness, it can be no more concerned in it than if they had never been done: and to receive pleasure or pain, i.e. reward or punishment, on the account of any such action, is all one as to be made happy or miserable in its first being, without any demerit at all."[42]

The medical term for not being aware of one's deficits is anosognosia, or more commonly known as a lack of insight. Having a lack of awareness raises the risks of treatment and service nonadherence.[43] Individuals who deny having an illness may be against seeking professional help because they are convinced that nothing is wrong with them. Disorders of self-awareness frequently follow frontal lobe damage.[44] There are two common methods used to measure how severe an individual's lack of self-awareness is. The Patient Competency Rating Scale (PCRS) evaluates self-awareness in patients who have endured a traumatic brain injury.[45] PCRS is a 30-item self-report instrument which asks the subject to use a 5-point Likert scale to rate his or her degree of difficulty in a variety of tasks and functions. Independently, relatives or significant others who know the patient well are also asked to rate the patient on each of the same behavioral items. The difference between the relatives and patient's perceptions is considered an indirect measure of impaired self-awareness. The limitations of this experiment rest on the answers of the relatives. Results of their answers can lead to a bias. This limitation prompted a second method of testing a patient's self-awareness. Simply asking a patient why they are in the hospital or what is wrong with their body can give compelling answers as to what they see and are analyzing.[46]

Dissociative identity disorder or multiple personality disorder is a disorder involving a disturbance of identity in which two or more separate and distinct personality states (or identities) control an individual's behavior at different times.[47] One identity may be different from another, and when an individual with DID is under the influence of one of their identities, they may forget their experiences when they switch to the other identity. "When under the control of one identity, a person is usually unable to remember some of the events that occurred while other personalities were in control."[48] They may experience time loss, amnesia, and adopt different mannerisms, attitudes, speech and ideas under different personalities. They are often unaware of the different lives they lead or their condition in general, feeling as though they are looking at their life through the lens of someone else, and even being unable to recognize themselves in a mirror.[49] Two cases of DID have brought awareness to the disorder, the first case being that of Eve. This patient harbored three different personalities: Eve White the good wife and mother, Eve Black the party girl, and Jane the intellectual. Under stress, her episodes would worsen. She even tried to strangle her own daughter and had no recollection of the act afterward. Eve went through years of therapy before she was able to learn how to control her alters and be mindful of her disorder and episodes. Her condition, being so rare at the time, inspired the book and film adaptation The Three Faces of Eve, as well as a memoir by Eve herself entitled I'm Eve. Doctors speculated that growing up during the Depression and witnessing horrific things being done to other people could have triggered emotional distress, periodic amnesia, and eventually DID.[50] In the second case, Shirley Mason, or Sybil, was described as having over 16 separate personalities with different characteristics and talents. Her accounts of horrific and sadistic abuse by her mother during childhood prompted doctors to believe that this trauma caused her personalities to split, furthering the unproven idea that this disorder was rooted in child abuse, while also making the disorder famous. In 1998 however, Sybil's case was exposed as a sham. Her therapist would encourage Sybil to act as her other alter ego although she felt perfectly like herself. Her condition was exaggerated in order to seal book deals and television adaptations.[51] Awareness of this disorder began to crumble shortly after this finding. To this day, no proven cause of DID has been found, but treatments such as psychotherapy, medications, hypnotherapy, and adjunctive therapies have proven to be very effective.[52]

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are a group of neurodevelopmental disabilities that can adversely impact social communication and create behavioral challenges (Understanding Autism, 2003).[53] "Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors."[54] ASDs can also cause imaginative abnormalities and can range from mild to severe, especially in sensory-motor, perceptual and affective dimensions.[55] Children with ASD may struggle with self-awareness and self acceptance. Their different thinking patterns and brain processing functions in the area of social thinking and actions may compromise their ability to understand themselves and social connections to others.[56] About 75% diagnosed autistics are mentally handicapped in some general way and the other 25% diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome show average to good cognitive functioning.[57] When we compare our own behavior to the morals and values that we were taught, we can focus more attention on ourselves which increases self-awareness. To understand the many effects of autism spectrum disorders on those afflicted have led many scientists to theorize what level of self-awareness occurs and in what degree. Research found that ASD can be associated with intellectual disability and difficulties in motor coordination and attention. It can also result in physical health issues as well, such as sleep and gastrointestinal disturbances. As a result of all those problems, individuals are literally unaware of themselves.[58] It is well known that children suffering from varying degrees of autism struggle in social situations. Scientists at the University of Cambridge have produced evidence that self-awareness is a main problem for people with ASD. Researchers used functional magnetic resonance scans (FMRI) to measure brain activity in volunteers being asked to make judgments about their own thoughts, opinions, preferences, as well as about someone else's. One area of the brain closely examined was the ventromedial pre-frontal cortex (vMPFC) which is known to be active when people think about themselves.[59]

A study out of Stanford University has tried to map out brain circuits with understanding self-awareness in Autism Spectrum Disorders.[60] This study suggests that self-awareness is primarily lacking in social situations but when in private they are more self-aware and present. It is in the company of others while engaging in interpersonal interaction that the self-awareness mechanism seems to fail. Higher functioning individuals on the ASD scale have reported that they are more self-aware when alone unless they are in sensory overload or immediately following social exposure.[61] Self-awareness dissipates when an autistic is faced with a demanding social situation. This theory suggests that this happens due to the behavioral inhibitory system which is responsible for self-preservation. This is the system that prevents human from self-harm like jumping out of a speeding bus or putting our hand on a hot stove. Once a dangerous situation is perceived then the behavioral inhibitory system kicks in and restrains our activities. "For individuals with ASD, this inhibitory mechanism is so powerful, it operates on the least possible trigger and shows an over sensitivity to impending danger and possible threats.[61] Some of these dangers may be perceived as being in the presence of strangers, or a loud noise from a radio. In these situations self-awareness can be compromised due to the desire of self preservation, which trumps social composure and proper interaction.

The Hobson hypothesis reports that autism begins in infancy due to the lack of cognitive and linguistic engagement which in turn results in impaired reflective self-awareness. In this study ten children with Asperger's Syndrome were examined using the Self-understanding Interview. This interview was created by Damon and Hart and focuses on seven core areas or schemas that measure the capacity to think in increasingly difficult levels. This interview will estimate the level of self understanding present. "The study showed that the Asperger group demonstrated impairment in the 'self-as-object' and 'self-as-subject domains of the Self-understanding Interview, which supported Hobson's concept of an impaired capacity for self-awareness and self-reflection in people with ASD.".[62] Self-understanding is a self description in an individual's past, present and future. Without self-understanding it is reported that self-awareness is lacking in people with ASD.

Joint attention (JA) was developed as a teaching strategy to help increase positive self-awareness in those with autism spectrum disorder.[63] JA strategies were first used to directly teach about reflected mirror images and how they relate to their reflected image. Mirror Self Awareness Development (MSAD) activities were used as a four-step framework to measure increases in self-awareness in those with ASD. Self-awareness and knowledge is not something that can simply be taught through direct instruction. Instead, students acquire this knowledge by interacting with their environment.[63] Mirror understanding and its relation to the development of self leads to measurable increases in self-awareness in those with ASD. It also proves to be a highly engaging and highly preferred tool in understanding the developmental stages of self- awareness.

There have been many different theories and studies done on what degree of self-awareness is displayed among people with autism spectrum disorder. Scientists have done research about the various parts of the brain associated with understanding self and self-awareness. Studies have shown evidence of areas of the brain that are impacted by ASD. Other theories suggest that helping an individual learn more about themselves through Joint Activities, such as the Mirror Self Awareness Development may help teach positive self-awareness and growth. In helping to build self-awareness it is also possible to build self-esteem and self acceptance. This in turn can help to allow the individual with ASD to relate better to their environment and have better social interactions with others.

Schizophrenia is a chronic psychiatric illness characterized by excessive dopamine activity in the mesolimbic tract and insufficient dopamine activity in the mesocortical tract leading to symptoms of psychosis along with poor cognition in socialization. Under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, people with schizophrenia have a combination of positive, negative and psychomotor symptoms. These cognitive disturbances involve rare beliefs and/or thoughts of a distorted reality that creates an abnormal pattern of functioning for the patient. Multiple studies have investigated this issue. Although it has been studied and proven that schizophrenia is hereditary,[64] most patients that inherit this gene are not aware of their disorder, regardless of their family history. It is believed that Schizophrenia, in individuals of a family history of the disease, can be triggered by stressful life events.[65] The level of self-awareness among patients with schizophrenia is a heavily studied topic.

Schizophrenia as a disease state is characterized by severe cognitive dysfunction and it is uncertain to what extent patients are aware of this deficiency. Medalia and Lim (2004),[66] investigated patients awareness of their cognitive deficit in the areas of attention, nonverbal memory, and verbal memory. Results from this study (N=185) revealed large discrepancy in patients assessment of their cognitive functioning relative to the assessment of their clinicians. Though it is impossible to access ones consciousness and truly understand what a schizophrenic believes, regardless in this study, patients were not aware of their cognitive dysfunctional reasoning. In the DSM-5, to receive a diagnosis of schizophrenia, they must have two or more of the following symptoms in the duration of one month: delusions*, hallucinations*, disorganized speech*, grossly disorganized/catatonic behavior and negative symptoms (*these three symptoms above all other symptoms must be present to correctly diagnose a patient.) Sometimes these symptoms are very prominent and are treated with a combination of antipsychotics (i.e. haloperidol, loxapine), atypical antipsychotics (such as clozapine and risperdone) and psychosocial therapies that include family interventions and socials skills. When a patient is undergoing treatment and recovering from the disorder, the memory of their behavior is present in a diminutive amount; thus, self-awareness of diagnoses of schizophrenia after treatment is rare, as well as subsequent to onset and prevalence in the patient.

The above findings are further supported by a study conducted by Amador and colleagues.[67] The study suggests a correlation exists between patient insight, compliance and disease progression. Investigators assess insight of illness was assessed via Scale to Assess Unawareness of Mental Disorder and was used along with rating of psychopathology, course of illness, and compliance with treatments in a sample of 43 patients. Patients with poor insight are less likely to be compliant with treatment and are more likely to have a poorer prognosis. Patients with hallucinations sometimes experience positive symptoms, which can include delusions of reference, thought insertion/withdrawal, thought broadcast, delusions of persecution, grandiosity and many more. These psychoses skew the patient's perspectives of reality in ways in which they truly believe are really happening. For instance, a patient that is experiencing delusions of reference may believe while watching the weather forecast that when the weatherman says it will rain, he is really sending a message to the patient in which rain symbolizes a specific warning completely irrelevant to what the weather is. Another example would be thought broadcast, which is when a patient believes that everyone can hear their thoughts. These positive symptoms sometimes are so severe to where the schizophrenic believes that something is crawling on them or smelling something that is not there in reality. These strong hallucinations are intense and difficult to convince the patient that they do not exist outside of their cognitive beliefs, making it extremely difficult for a patient to understand and become self-aware that what they are experiencing is in fact not there.

Furthermore, a study by Bedford and Davis[68] (2013) was conducted to look at the association of denial vs. acceptance of multiple facets of schizophrenia (self reflection, self perception and insight) and its effect on self-reflection (N=26). Study results suggest patients with increased disease denial have lower recollection for self evaluated mental illnesses. To a great extent, disease denial creates a hardship for patients to undergo recovery because their feelings and sensations are intensely outstanding. But just as this and the above studies imply, a large proportion of schizophrenics do not have self-awareness of their illness for many factors and severity of reasoning of their diagnoses.

Bipolar disorder is an illness that causes shifts in mood, energy, and ability to function. Self-awareness is crucial in those suffering from this disease, as they must be able to distinguish between feeling a certain way because of the disorder or because of separate issues. "Personality, behavior, and dysfunction affect your bipolar disorder, so you must 'know' yourself in order to make the distinction."[69] This disorder is a difficult one to diagnose, as self-awareness changes with mood. "For instance, what might appear to you as confidence and clever ideas for a new business venture might be a pattern of grandiose thinking and manic behavior".[70] Issues occur between understanding irrationality in a mood swing and being completely wrapped in a manic episode, rationalizing that the exhibited behaviors are normal.

Bodily (Self-)Awareness [1] is related to Proprioception (& Visualization).

According to a British survey, managers have a gap in self-awareness. Managers rate their own performance far higher than their team members do.[71]

Theater also concerns itself with other awareness besides self-awareness. There is a possible correlation between the experience of the theater audience and individual self-awareness. As actors and audiences must not "break" the fourth wall in order to maintain context, so individuals must not be aware of the artificial, or the constructed perception of his or her reality. This suggests that both self-awareness and the social constructs applied to others are artificial continuums just as theater is. Theatrical efforts such as Six Characters in Search of an Author, or The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, construct yet another layer of the fourth wall, but they do not destroy the primary illusion. Refer to Erving Goffman's Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience.[citation needed]

In science fiction, self-awareness describes an essential human property that often (depending on the circumstances of the story) bestows personhood onto a non-human. If a computer, alien or other object is described as "self-aware", the reader may assume that it will be treated as a completely human character, with similar rights, capabilities and desires to a normal human being.[72] The words "sentience", "sapience" and "consciousness" are used in similar ways in science fiction.

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Mirror test – Wikipedia

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The mirror test, sometimes called the mark test or the mirror self-recognition test (MSR), is a behavioural technique developed in 1970 by psychologist Gordon Gallup Jr. as an attempt to determine whether a non-human animal possesses the ability of visual self-recognition.[1] The MSR test is the traditional method for attempting to measure self-awareness; however, there has been controversy whether the test is a true indicator.

In the classic MSR test, an animal is anaesthetised and then marked (e.g. painted, or a sticker attached) on an area of the body the animal cannot normally see. When the animal recovers from the anaesthetic, it is given access to a mirror. If the animal then touches or investigates the mark, it is taken as an indication that the animal perceives the reflected image as itself, rather than of another animal.

Very few species have passed the MSR test. As of 2016, only great apes (including humans), a single Asiatic elephant, dolphins, orcas, and the Eurasian magpie have passed the MSR test. A wide range of species has been reported to fail the test, including several monkey species, giant pandas, sea lions, and dogs.[2][3]

In 1970, Gordon Gallup, Jr., experimentally investigated the possibility of self-recognition with two male and two female wild pre-adolescent chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), none of which had presumably seen a mirror previously. Each chimpanzee was put into a room by itself for two days. Next, a full-length mirror was placed in the room for a total of 80 hours at periodically decreasing distances. A multitude of behaviours was recorded upon introducing the mirrors to the chimpanzees. Initially, the chimpanzees made threatening gestures at their own images, ostensibly seeing their own reflections as threatening. Eventually, the chimps used their own reflections for self-directed responding behaviours, such as grooming parts of their body previously not observed without a mirror, picking their noses, making faces, and blowing bubbles at their own reflections.

Gallup expanded the study by manipulating the chimpanzees' appearance and observing their reaction to their reflection in the mirror. Gallup anaesthetised the chimpanzees and then painted a red alcohol-soluble dye on the eyebrow ridge and on the top half of the opposite ear. When the dye dried, it had virtually no olfactory or tactile cues. Gallup then returned the chimpanzees to the cage (with the mirror removed) and allowed them to regain full consciousness. He then recorded the frequency with which the chimpanzees spontaneously touched the marked areas of skin. After 30 minutes, the mirror was re-introduced into the room and the frequency of touching the marked areas again determined. The frequency of touching increased to 4-10 with the mirror present, compared to only 1 when the mirror had been removed. The chimpanzees sometimes inspected their fingers visually or olfactorily after touching the marks. Other mark-directed behaviour includes turning and adjusting of the body to better view the mark in the mirror, or tactile examination of the mark with an appendage while viewing the mirror.[1]

An important aspect of the classical mark-test is that the mark/dye is non-tactile, preventing attention being drawn to the marking through additional perceptual cues (somesthesis). For this reason, animals in the majority of classical tests are anesthetised. Some tests, use a tactile marker.[4]

Animals that are considered to be able to recognise themselves in a mirror typically progress through four stages of behaviour when facing a mirror:[5]

Gallup conducted a follow-up study in which two chimpanzees with no prior experience of a mirror were put under anesthesia, marked and observed. After recovery, they made no mark-directed behaviours either before or after being provided with a mirror.[citation needed]

The inspiration for the mirror test comes from an anecdote about Charles Darwin and a captive orangutan. While visiting the London Zoo in 1838, Darwin observed an orangutan, named Jenny, throwing a tantrum after being teased with an apple by her keeper. This started him thinking about the subjective experience of an orangutan.[6] He also watched Jenny gaze into a mirror and noted the possibility that she recognised herself in the reflection.[7]

A large number of studies using a wide range of species have investigated the occurrence of spontaneous, mark-directed behaviour when given a mirror, as originally proposed by Gallup. Most marked animals given a mirror initially respond with social behaviour, such as aggressive displays, and continue to do so during repeated testing. Only a small number of species have touched or directed behaviour toward the mark, thereby passing the classic MSR test.

Findings in MSR studies are not always conclusive. Even in chimpanzees, the species most studied and with the most convincing findings, clear-cut evidence of self-recognition is not obtained in all individuals tested.[8] Prevalence is about 75% in young adults and considerably less in young and aging individuals.[9]

Until the study on magpies, self-recognition was thought to reside in the neocortex area of the brain. However, said brain region is absent in birds. Self-recognition in birds and mammals may be a case of convergent evolution, where similar evolutionary pressures result in similar behaviours or traits, although they arrive at them via different routes and the underlying mechanism may be different.[24]

A range of species have been exposed to mirrors. Although these might have failed the classic MSR test, they have sometimes shown mirror-related behaviour:

Two captive giant manta rays showed frequent, unusual and repetitive movements in front of a mirror suggested contingency checking. They also showed unusual self-directed behaviours when exposed to the mirror.[41]

The MSR test has been criticised for several reasons, in particular, because it may result in findings that are false negatives.[24]

The MSR test may be of limited value when applied to species that primarily use senses other than vision.[42][verification needed] For example, dogs mainly use olfaction and audition; vision is used only third. It is suggested this is why dogs fail the MSR test. With this in mind, the biologist Marc Bekoff developed a scent-based paradigm using dog urine to test self-recognition in canines.[19][42] He tested his own dog, but his results were inconclusive.[43] A 2015 study[44] suggested a new ethological approach, the Sniff test of self-recognition (STSR) which may shed light on different ways of checking for self-recognition.

Another concern with the MSR test is that some species quickly respond aggressively to their mirror reflection as if it were a threatening conspecific thereby preventing the animal to calmly consider what the reflection actually represents. It has been suggested this is the reason why gorillas and monkeys fail the MSR test.[45][46]

In a MSR test, animals may not recognise the mark as abnormal, or, may not be sufficiently motivated to react to it. However, this does not mean they are unable to recognise themselves. For example, in a MSR test conducted on three elephants, only one elephant passed the test but the two elephants that failed still demonstrated behaviours that can be interpreted as self-recognition. The researchers commented that the elephants might not have touched the mark because it was not important enough to them.[47] Similarly, lesser apes infrequently engage in self-grooming, which may explain their failure to touch a mark on their head in the mirror test.[24]

Primates, other than the great apes, have so far universally failed the mirror test. However, mirror tests with three species of gibbon (Hylobates syndactylus, H.gabriellae, H. leucogenys) have shown convincing evidence of self-recognition despite the fact that the animals failed the standard version of the mirror test.[48]

Rhesus macaques have failed the MSR test, but use mirrors to study otherwise-hidden parts of their bodies, such as their genitals and the implants in their heads. It has been suggested this demonstrates at least a partial self-awareness, although this is disputed.[49]

Pigs can use visual information seen in a mirror to find food, and show evidence of self-recognition when presented with their reflection. In an experiment, 7 of the 8 pigs tested were able to find a bowl of food hidden behind a wall and revealed using a mirror. The eighth pig looked behind the mirror for the food.[50] BBC Earth also showed the foodbowl test, and the "matching shapes to holes" test, in the Extraordinary Animals series.[51]

Pigeons are capable of passing a highly modified mirror test, but only after extensive training.[52][53] In the experiment, a pigeon was trained to look in a mirror to find a response key behind it, which the pigeon then turned to peck to obtain food. Thus, the pigeon learned to use a mirror to find critical elements of its environment. Next, the pigeon was trained to peck at dots placed on its feathers; food was, again, the consequence of touching the dot. The latter training was accomplished in the absence of the mirror. The final test was placing a small bib on the pigeonenough to cover a dot placed on its lower belly. A control period without the mirror present yielded no pecking at the dot. When the mirror was revealed, the pigeon became active, looked in the mirror and then tried to peck on the dot under the bib. However, untrained pigeons have never passed the mirror test.[54]

Manta rays repeatedly swim in front of the mirror, turning over to show their undersides and moving their fins. When in front of the mirror, they blow bubbles, an unusual behaviour. They do not try to socially interact with the mirror image, suggesting that they recognise that the mirror image is not another ray. However, a classic mirror test using marks on the rays bodies has yet to be done.[55]

In 2012, early steps were taken to make a robot pass the mirror test.[56]

The rouge test is a version of the mirror test used with children.[57] Using rouge makeup, an experimenter surreptitiously places a dot on the face of the child. The child is then placed in front of a mirror and their reactions are monitored; depending on the child's development, distinct categories of responses are demonstrated. This test is widely cited as the primary measure for mirror self-recognition in human children.[58][59][60]

From the age of 6 to 12 months, the child typically sees a "sociable playmate" in the mirror's reflection. Self-admiring and embarrassment usually begin at 12 months, and at 14 to 20 months most children demonstrate avoidance behaviours.[57] Finally, at 18 months half of children recognise the reflection in the mirror as their own[58] and by 20 to 24 months self-recognition climbs to 65%. Children do so by evincing mark-directed behaviour; they touch their own nose or try to wipe the mark off.[57]

It appears that self-recognition in mirrors is independent of familiarity with reflecting surfaces.[59] In some cases the rouge test has been shown to have differing results, depending on sociocultural orientation. For example, a Cameroonian Nso sample of infants 18 to 20 months of age had an extremely low amount of self-recognition outcomes at 3.2%. The study also found two strong predictors of self-recognition: object stimulation (maternal effort of attracting the attention of the infant to an object either person touched) and mutual eye contact.[61] A strong correlation between self-concept and object permanence have also been demonstrated using the rouge test.[62]

The rouge test is a measure of self-concept; the child who touches the rouge on his own nose upon looking into a mirror demonstrates the basic ability to understand self-awareness.[63][64][65] Animals,[42] young children,[20] and people who have their sight restored after being blind from birth,[19] sometimes react to their reflection in the mirror as though it were another individual[citation needed].

Theorists have remarked on the significance of this period in a child's life. For example, psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan used a similar test in marking the mirror stage when growing up.[66] Current views of the self in psychology position the self as playing an integral part in human motivation, cognition, affect, and social identity.[60]

There is some debate as to the interpretation of the results of the mirror test,[42] and researchers in one study have identified some potential problems with the test as a means of gauging self-awareness in young children.[67]

Proposing that a self-recognising child may not demonstrate mark-directed behaviour because they are not motivated to clean up their faces, thus providing incorrect results, the study compared results of the standard rouge test methodology against a modified version of the test.[67]

In the classic test, the experimenter first played with the children, making sure that they looked in the mirror at least three times. Then, the rouge test was performed using a dot of rouge below the child's right eye. For their modified testing, the experimenter introduced a doll with a rouge spot under its eye and asked the child to help clean the doll. The experimenter would ask up to three times before cleaning the doll themselves. The doll was then put away, and the mirror test performed using a rouge dot on the child's face. These modifications were shown to increase the number of self-recognisers.[67]

The results uncovered by this study at least suggest some issues with the classic mirror test; primarily, that it assumes that children will recognise the dot of rouge as abnormal and attempt to examine or remove it. The classic test may have produced false negatives, because the child's recognition of the dot did not lead to them cleaning it. In their modified test, in which the doll was cleaned first, they found a stronger relationship between cleaning the doll's face and the child cleaning its own face. The demonstration with the doll, postulated to demonstrate to the children what to do, may lead to more reliable confirmation of self-recognition.[67]

On a more general level, it remains debatable whether recognition of one's mirror image implies self-awareness.[67]

See more here:
Mirror test - Wikipedia

Written by simmons

August 9th, 2017 at 10:43 pm

Posted in Self-Awareness


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