Stern’s Outside-In Theory of Self-Development

Daniel M. Ogilvie

in Fantasies of Flight

Published in print January 2004 | ISBN: 9780195157468
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199894024 | DOI:
Stern’s Outside-In Theory of Self-Development

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There is a commonly held notion that infants begin life in a state of symbiotic fusion with the mother and that in many other ways they lack the ability to differentiate themselves from their surroundings. Daniel Stern disagrees. He observes that shortly after birth, infants show clear evidence of possessing a self in the making. He refers to it as the emergent self. Although it operates outside of awareness, Stern describes it as willful, coherent, and bounded. One can witness its presence when a baby shows preferences, actively seeks visual and auditory stimulation, attends to changes in its environment, and demonstrates mastery of simple cause-and-effect relationships. This chapter discusses Stern's theory in more detail.

Keywords: Daniel Stern; infants; emergent self

Chapter.  3613 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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