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Discussion - Results have shown that there is a significant difference in the self-concept between seven-year-olds and seventeen-year-olds, with a probability of less than 1% that these results were due to chance factors alone.

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Introduction

DISCUSSION Results have shown that there is a significant difference in the self-concept between seven-year-olds and seventeen-year-olds, with a probability of less than 1% that these results were due to chance factors alone. Self-evaluation showed the greatest difference between the younger and older participants, with the seventeen-year-olds mentioning their self and the way they were feeling at the time nearly twice as much as the seven-year-olds. 29% of the seventeen-year-olds' responses came under the category 'self-evaluation', whereas only 15% of the seven-year-olds' responses came under this category. Examples of responses that came under 'self-evaluation' were "I am fat", "I am hungry" and "I am very beautiful". The seventeen-year-olds are in the stage of adolescence (period between puberty and adulthood) where the body undergoes physical changes. Crawford and Unger (1995) suggest that adolescents are more concerned with their body image than any other age groups. Perhaps this can be one explanation for finding more responses under 'self-evaluation' for the seventeen-year-olds where 58 responses out of the full 199 came under 'self-evaluation' and 69% out of these 58 were regarding the bodily self, for the seventeen-year olds. This can also have an important effect on self-esteem, where if an individual has a negative body image, the lower the self-esteem that person will have; and a positive body image results in greater self-esteem for that person. ...read more.

Middle

Future research could be carried out on males and females equally for fairness. Instead of finding out whether the self-concept varies with age, it could be done to find differences in gender, which would be easier and interesting to carry out. Experimenter bias may have been a problem where the researcher could have given away the aim of the study. However, all efforts were made not to influence the subjects consciously. If the subjects realised the aim of the study, participant bias may have become a confounding variable where they either try to help you or try to ruin your study. The latter may explain why one seventeen-year-old subject wrote "I am someone with blue eyes" and also wrote "I am someone with brown eyes", when she had in actual fact brown eyes. To rectify these two variables, a laboratory study could be carried out where a double blind method is used. Both the ages in this present study may also have written answers that were socially favourable and so were not as sincere as they could have been. Although the seven-year-olds were young, they were old enough to be aware of what is approved of and is the norm in society. ...read more.

Conclusion

Research has suggested that the self-concept probably only develops towards the end of the first year of life, associated with the initial appearance of cognitive schemas. Lewis and Brooks-Gunns found that babies as young as 9 months demonstrate some capability to distinguish pictures of themselves, smiling longer at self-photographs as compared with photographs of other same-age babies. They also found that 9-month-old children would smile at themselves in front of a mirror and reach out and touch their mirror image. This shows that the self-concept has started to develop. Therefore this study shows the importance of experience and social interaction in development as research carried out on people raised in isolation often don't have self-recognition. Participants in the present study have self-recognition and have the knowledge that they are continuous through time and space, and have knowledge of particular features. Conclusion From the study it has been concluded that there is a significant difference in the self-concept between seven-year-olds and seventeen-year-olds. A more varied age range between young and older people would have provided clearer results hence clearer differences in their self-concept. The self-concept is not constant and changes considerably with time, due to the individual's development and change of lifestyle. The self-concept is a complicated thing and some researchers say we have more than one self-concept. ...read more.

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