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Charles Cooley- Looking glass self

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- [Voiceover] Socialization describes the process by which people learn the attitudes, values, and behaviors that are appropriate and expected by their culture and community. And it typically occurs through the observation of and interaction with the people we are surrounded by. And this can include those who are close to us, like our family, friends, and teachers, but it can also include everyone else that we come across in our daily lives. Our doctors, nurses, celebrities that we see on TV and in the movies, even the people standing in line next to us at the supermarket. They all have something to teach us about how we should act within our community. But socialization also shapes our self image, or how we view ourselves. And sociologist, Charles Cooley used the term looking glass self in order to describe this process. And he theorized that our view of ourselves comes not only from our direct contemplation of our personal qualities, but also from our perceptions about how we are being perceived by others. And Cooley thought this happened through three steps. First, we imagine how we must appear to others, to our families or friends or just people on the street. Second, we imagine how they must evaluate us, based on their observations of us. So do we come across as intelligent, or funny, or shy, or maybe just awkward? And third, we develop feelings about ourselves based on our impressions of their evaluations and their observations. And one critical aspect of this theory that I want to point out, is that Cooley believed that we are not actually being influenced by the opinions of others, but instead we are being influenced by what we imagine the opinions of other people to be. So according to this theory, we might develop our self identities based on both correct and incorrect perceptions of how others see us. So let's say that we have this teacher and they're grading a paper very harshly. They're grading it very critically. And they're doing this because they think that the student who wrote this paper actually had a lot of potential. And so they're grading that student's paper harshly in order to help them reach it. So let's say our student gets their paper back and notices that it's full of red ink marks and corrections from the teacher. How might that student interpret this? And how might that influence their self image? First they might observe that the teacher criticized them harshly on this paper. Second, they think that teacher probably did so, because they see the student as not being very intelligent. And then finally, our student comes to the conclusion that, based on this, they're probably not very good at literary analysis. So here the student is acting on an incorrect perception of what they think the teacher believes. And because our attitudes can often influence our behaviors, this might result in the student putting less effort into the class, instead of more effort like the teacher originally wanted. But this doesn't have to be the end of our story. Because it can also be influenced by future interactions. So let's say that this student talks to the teacher after class about why they graded so harshly. At that point the teacher might explain that they think the student is on the right track, but that they need to put in a little more effort. And so because of this additional interaction, the student was able to revise his or her incorrect perceptions and this could lead the student to developing a different self perspective.