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Charles Horton Cooley’s “Looking Glass Self” Theory: Concepts, Application, Studies, Durability, Cr...

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Charles Horton Cooley’s “Looking Glass Self” Theory: Concepts, Application, Studies, Durability, Criticisms, and Assessment
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Paper Abstract

This is a 6 page paper discussing Cooley’s “Looking Glass Self” theory. Tutorial language appears throughout the text in square brackets giving structural and instructional suggestions for further writing. Symbolic interactionist, Charles Horton Cooley, first published the “Looking Glass Self” theory in his 1902 work “Human Nature and the Social Order”. Advocating that an individual’s concept of “self” was highly related to the interaction with others and their perception was contrary to many of the psychological and behaviorist theories accepted at the time and were based on the development of individuals from an independent perspective. The significance of Cooley’s theory however had an impact on theories of individual and social development and led to the inclusion of his concepts in the theories of Mead and Dewey among others and the eventual restructuring of the educational system. Despite the critics which are largely based from a psychological perspective, Cooley’s theories are still applied in research studies today and have been included to explain modern concepts of the development of crime, delinquency and group identity among others. Backed by a century’s worth of supportive research studies, Cooley’s theory has stood the test of time by those who have applied it in social science studies and by those who can assess the theory by experiences from their own childhood and the importance peer perceptions have on self-esteem, -image and –perception. Bibliography lists 13 sources.

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