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Sociologist Charles Cooley

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Laura Silenzi

on 19 February 2014

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Transcript of Sociologist Charles Cooley

Symbolic Interactionalism
Sociologist Charles Cooley
Modern Day Applications of The Looking Glass Self
Examples of "Looking Glass Self"

1. Creation of Avatars
An example of the "looking glass" self-concept can be found on the internet as well as on gaming networks through the use of avatars. In the virtual world, users can create an avatar by selecting certain physical characteristics or symbols. The creator often chooses characteristics that reflect the way they wish to be perceived by the virtual world. Characteristics are also chosen based on the influence, actions, and perceptions of other virtual users.
Charles Cooley

Charles Horton Cooley. American Sociological Association. Retrieved February 15, 2014 from http://www.asanet.org/about/presidents/Charles_Cooley.cfm.

Symbolic Interactionalism
Check out this video to better understand Cooley's theory of the Looking Glass Self:
Cooley's theory of the "Looking Glass Self" stemmed from an experiment conducted in 1902 with young children. Cooley instructed the children to visit a room which contained a bowl full of candy. The children were instructed to only take one piece of candy. In the first portion of his experiment, the children were being watched from a video camera. Unaware that they were being monitored, the children took more than one piece of candy. The same experiment was conducted a second time, but instead, the room was surrounded with mirrors. In almost all cases, the children only took one piece of candy. Cooley related this outcome to the idea of a mirror or reflection. The children's reflection in the mirror represented the society's perception of the child. The children related the behaviour viewed in the mirror to the possible reaction of society (if of course they had been watching).
Cooley's Experiment & The Looking Glass Self

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry Charles_Horton_Cooley

3. Dating
2. Children Employing the Looking-Glass Self Technique


In this photo, a child is using the looking glass self technique. The child is making a funny face, imaging how it would appear to the viewers, assuming it would elicit the response of laughter or smiling. The child would then interpret the viewer's response to her actions (laughter, attention and smiling). The child would then use this desired reaction to evaluate herself in a positive manner, perhaps developing the self-concept of being playful or funny.

Source: http://introsoc2011.wiki.usfca.edu/The+Looking-Glass+Self
How can you relate the experience of dating, or preparing for a date, to Cooley' theory of the looking glass self?

4. Appearance
Full transcript