Cristina Meini

Looking inside myself. The role of interpersonal relationships in the construction of self-consciousness

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Self-Consciousness; Constructivism; Emotion; Social Biofeedback; Simple Desires.

The long-standing Cartesian tradition notwithstanding, our own mind is far for being transparent and easily accessible. This paper aims at contributing to a socio-constructivist theory of introspective self-consciousness, according to which the construction of an introspective experiential space occurs through the process of turning one's innate mentalistic skills on oneself under the communicative pressure of micro-social contexts. My initial focus will be on affective mentalization, arguing that a good attunement in protoconversational infant-caregiver interactions plays a crucial causal role in the construction of the phenomenology of basic emotions. In particular, I will consider the social biofeedback theory of parental affect-mirroring (Gergely 2004), a socio-constructivist model of the development of the virtual inner space of the mind. While the social biofeedback model has been originally proposed to explain how the child constructs her inner emotional space, I will suggest that the same kind of process could give rise to the introspective access to simple desires - i.e., desires directed toward an object and generally characterized by a strong feeling component.

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