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Egocentrism

  • By: Lesa Rae Vartanian
  • In: Encyclopedia of School Psychology
  • Edited by: Steven W. Lee
  • Subject:School/Educational Psychology (general), School Psychology, Educational Psychology

Egocentrism refers to error in differentiating some aspect of self-other relations (i.e., the tendency to view one's environment only from one's own point of view). Piaget saw egocentrism as a common characteristic of young children's thinking. Although it may contribute to selfish attitudes or behavior, egocentrism is not synonymous with selfishness. Research demonstrates that when minimal demands are placed on the child's perceptual and short-term memory abilities, egocentrism is reduced.

David Elkind's (1967) work yielded the concept of adolescent egocentrism—one of the most well-known and intuitively appealing theories of adolescent development. Adolescents' mistaken belief that others watch and evaluate them includes the creations of an imaginary audience and a personal fable. However, research has not supported the notion that social cognition during adolescence is egocentric. More ...

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