Rosenberg Locus of Self Knowledge

The Development of Self: A Comparison and Analysis of Child Self-Description Using Rosenberg Locus of Self Knowledge

The concept of self is an ever developing process which begins from childhood. It accounts for the ability to initially identify ourselves using physical attributes and activities, progressing into descriptions which capture emotions and beliefs only privy to the individual. Open ended self-description questionnaires along with semi structured interviews were conducted with two female children aged eight and sixteen years old. Their responses were analysed and compared to identify whether a developmental trend existed. The results supported Rosenberg’s Locus of Knowledge theory; with age and experience children develop a self-reflexive sense of self separate to their caregivers. Although, methodical choices reduce the possibility of ecological validity.


The general consensus amongst western theorists is the concept of ‘self’ as a progressive process. Fundamentally, the acknowledgement of self-existence, which Lewis (1990) refers to as the existential self. The awareness of ‘me’, the person, the ‘self-as-object’ or the ‘categorical self’ as described by James (1892) follows.   This stage reflects a child’s ability to identify themselves, identifiable by others and socially categorised according to their relationships, gender and age.   Cooley (1902) suggested ‘the looking glass self’ was another way people viewed their identities based upon responses and perceptions of others.   Mead (1932) further suggested language and interaction termed, ‘symbolic interactionism’ provided social development permitting a greater understanding of their position within the world around them. Whilst Piaget (1920) considered cognitive development as a child constructing their response to the environment.  

Harter (1983) research gained insight into the developmental sequence children commonly establish a contrast between younger and...