Development of the Self: From Perceptual Self to Representational Self



Type of instruction




Part of degree program


Recommended in

Semester 1-4

Typically offered in

Autumn/Spring semester

Course description

Topics covered by the course:

  • Beginnings of self-development – different theoretical approaches
  • Connection of body and self – changes with age
  • Self-representations - changes with age, measuring representations
  • Domain-specific and global self-evaluation – models of self-evaluation and self-esteem, measurement
  • Self-concept and identity – identity aspects, stability and change of self-concept
  • The concept and the function of identity in Erikson’s developmental theory, the critics based upon the new identity empirical research results
  • Empirical identity research – ISP (Identity Status Paradigm), ISP extended to adulthood developmental stages, identity questionnaires, unpacking exploration and commitment, new trends in identity research
  • Attempts to measure of Eriksonian identity elements – ego-strengths, autonomy, sense of continuity, goal-structures, identity capital
  • Theoretical and empirical differentiation of identity-constructs: self-concept, selfrepresentation
  • Harter, S. (2012). The construction of the self: A developmental perspective. Guilford Press.
  • Kunnen, E. S., Bosma, H. A. (2003). Fischer’s skill theory applied to identity development: A response to Kroger. Identity, 3(3), 247–270.
  • Lichtwarck-Aschoff , A., van Geert, P., Bosma, H., Kunnen, S. (2008). Time and identity: A framework for research and theory formation. Developmental Review, 28, 370–400.
  • Schwartz, S. J., Côté, J. E., Arnett, J. J. (2005). Process identity and agency in emerging adulthood: Twodevelopmental routes in the individualization. Youth & Society; 37, 201-229.
  • Sneed, J. R., Krauss Whitbourne, S., Culang, M. E. (2006) Trust, identity, and ego integrity: Modeling Erikson’s core stages over 34 years. Journal of Adult Development, 13, 148–157.