The Development of Intersubjectivity: Cognitive, Affective and Action Aspects

  • Monika Keller


Navigating successful and satisfying interactions in a complex social world is a developmental task that children manage surprisingly well. Through interacting with Others, they increasingly come to understand the particularities of social situations in terms of the relationships and perspectives of the persons involved in them, including the Self and Others (e.g. interests, needs and feelings, as well as the (moral) rules and expectations governing relationships and social interaction). In this chapter, these achievements will be outlined as the development of a naïve theory of action, including social (descriptive), moral (prescriptive) reasoning, based on the differentiation and coordination of perspectives of the Self and Others. I will describe a developmental sequence of sociomoral reasoning from childhood to adolescence, which integrates cognitive, affective and behavioural aspects of the Self and Others’ awareness (e.g. the ability to coordinate perspectives of the Self and Others, emotional concern for others and action strategies). This will be documented in two contexts: the development of moral awareness in close relationships, focusing on close friendship; and moral awareness in a situation of sharing with anonymous others. Finally, I will discuss briefly how the theoretical framework provides a teaching method for discourses about conflicting claims in relationships, and for broadening moral awareness beyond close relationships and ingroup boundaries.


Close Friendship Moral Development Action Strategy Chinese Child Moral Disengagement 
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