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Self-recognition: a study of a population without mirrors

The study of the influence of familiarity with mirrors on children's capacity to identify their reflected images permitted differentiation between two problems that confront the child in the mirror situation: (a) the identity of the image and (b) the capacity to relate mirror space to real space. Sixty children, 6 to 26 months old, without previous experience with mirrors, were observed systematically while discovering their mirror image and a reflected object. Their behavior was compared to a control group with habitual mirror familiarity. The results suggest that (a) self-recognition in the mirror is independent of the child's familiarity with reflecting surfaces and (b) the capacity to relate mirror to real space seems to be strongly influenced by previous experience with mirrors.



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