- Paperback: 264 pages
- Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 1 edition (February 9, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0521729653
- ISBN-13: 978-0521882408
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,860,754 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Others in Mind: Social Origins of Self-Consciousness 1st Edition
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"This exceptional book is an inspiration for all clinicians conducting psychotherapy. The nature and development of self consciousness is rarely treated in depth, yet self consciousness is at the core of 'psychic structure' and function. Accordingly, it is key in understanding psychopathology. Others in Mind does just that. It explicitly and implicitly provides new perspectives on the processes of treatment and suggests further clinical paths to explore. Bravo! This book was greatly needed."
-Daniel N. Stern, Cornell University Medical School
"An utterly unique voice, passionately combining the scholarly and the personal. A book that first of all engages, but also informs. What could be more interesting than how we learn about ourselves through others?"
-Michael Tomasello, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany
"Bold in its reach and profound in its implications, this highly original book makes the startling claim that fear of rejection by others drives human self consciousness and an obsessive concern for self. Rochat argues paradoxically that the extended dependency of human infancy on the attentiveness of others for survival and care produces at once a deep need for affiliation and a pervasive terror of rejection. This theme is persuasively worked through for many of the most important concerns of the self in social, cultural, and moral spheres throughout life."
-Katherine Nelson, CUNY Graduate Center
"So many talk about the self, so few get beyond clichés. This bold book delivers. Bringing together a wealth of research, Rochat forges a comprehensive vision which is truly original. Psychotherapy clinicians, like other readers, will find their grasp of human reality never again the same."
-George Downing, The Psychiatric Teaching Faculty, Salpetriere Hospital, Paris
"Examines the human propensity for self-consciousness..."
--The Chronicle of Higher Education
"...Rochat presents a bold challenge for psychology, one that stresses the importance of group living and the sharing of resources as essential for human survival...[Essential]..."
-S. Krippner, Saybrook Graduate School & Research Center
"...thought provoking, learned, and also daring... Others in Mind is an elegantly written essay that will inform, provoke, and inspire thought about the origins of human self-consciousness... It will reward the scholarly reader with new perspectives on a topic of classic and continuing importance."
-Ross A. Thompson, PsycCRITIQUES [March 17, 2010, Vol. 55]
Philippe Rochat argues that we are members of a species that evolved the unique propensity to reflect upon themselves as an object of thoughts; an object of thoughts that is potentially evaluated by others. But, the argument goes, this propensity comes from a basic fear: the fear of rejection, of being socially "banned" and ostracized.
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He states the basic premise of his book in two sentences: "We fear the judgment of others, and whatever this judgment might be, good or bad, it determines the representation of who we are in our mind (i.e., our self-consciousness). Once again, the view proposed here is that self-consciousness is in essence a social rather than an individual phenomenon. It depends on others and does not exist in itself as an individual phenomenon" (pp. 3-4). His rationale is that we are self-conscious primarily because we are afraid of being rejected.
From his perspective the emotion of shame is the behavioral expression of feeling socially rejected. Shame is generic, linked to the basic fear of social rejection. Empathy and other self-conscious emotions are derivatives of shame.
Whether you agree or disagree with his view is less important, I believe, than the questions his view raises. How are shame and empathy related? What role does shame play in the development of more complex expressions of empathic awareness? Do we need to feel shame in relation to another in order to learn about empathy?
I recommend this book for anyone interested in self-consciousness in general and anyone interested in shame or empathy in particular.
Despite the very hard work involved, Rochat seems to have enjoyed this writing so, as the reading of the book flows beautifully. In addition,the environmental constraints imposed by the dogmatic theories of his mentor Jean Piaget do not sway him at all from his own intellectual landscape. I especially like the stage-like projections of when these co-constructed states of mind seem to occur and how this co-awareness develops.
For me, a student of infant development, the book shines a whole new light on the seemingly simple things infants and small children do. For example, when my 9-month old puts the pacifier to my mouth or when she just stares at me and waits for a response on my face, I wonder what part of each behavioral phrase is a co-awareness that we share.
Rachel Morgan Sult, PhD
At age two, human children all over the world can recognize themselves in a mirror. However, children in rural villages in Africa, when they saw themselves in a mirror with a yellow post-it note secretly placed on their foreheads, froze and did not remove the post-it. Middle class American children immediately removed the mark - and, in some cases, apologized. Find out the reason for this difference and much more in this book. You don't even know how much you need to read it until you read it.