The origins of self-concept as part of identity formation

Zoi Nikiforidou, Kyriakos Demetriou

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The aim of this chapter is to explore the origins of self-concept as part of identity formation, through a psychological stance. Early experiences, even before we are born, contribute to the development and understanding of our self-image, as part of our identity development and well-being. The chapter will draw upon theoretical aspects from Erikson’s psychosocial theory (1968), Bandura’s theory on self-efficacy (1994) and Vygotsky’s Great-We idea (1998) to explore how the sense of self is formed over time through the interplay of the infant and the environment in which she is born and brought up. The chapter will address research findings and implications on how infants and toddlers transit from self-awareness to self-consciousness, from being an active agent to having responsibility and an ‘interpersonal self’. Specifically, the notion of self-concept as part of their identity formation will be approached through children’s recognition of their physical traits, through their use of self-referential language, through the emergence of self-directed emotions, through play examples and interactions with others. Newborns’ and infants’ social sensitivity as well as contextual influences like the role of caregivers and the role of culture are taken into account while considering the complexity of developing a conceptual system made up of one’s thoughts and attitudes about oneself and one’s existence.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Bloomsbury Handbook of Identity and Culture
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


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