The impact of child-caregiver interactions and attachment on the developing minimal self – Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich

In our second phase project we will extend the results of the first phase project that investigated influences of the early caregiver-child interactions on the developing minimal self in the first two years. The second project will focus on preschool children. The preschool age is the first age that the currently most widely accepted indicators of the minimal self (sense of agency, interoception, body ownership) yield unambiguous evidence. While we accept that the self is a moment-to-moment construction and is grounded in sensorimotor processes, we postulate – following influencing theories such as attachment theory – that the minimal self is also malleable for social interactions and its consequences (e.g. attachment representations). Four studies will be carried out to test these notions in which we include methods of attachment theory (Adult Attachment Interview, Story Stem Assessment, Strange Situation Procedure), direct observation of the caregiver-child-interaction and operationalizations of the indicators of a minimal selfhood (Enfacement Illusion, Interoceptive Accuracy, Judgements of Agency, Intentional Binding) in preschool children and adults. The results will help us understand the influences of social interactions on the developing minimal self and how representations of earlier interactions affect the construction of the minimal self in the here and now.

PI: Prof. Dr. Markus Paulus

PhD: Konstantin Steinmassl, M.Sc.