A variety of studies, such as the ones described below, have been conducted over the years in an attempt to explain and examine the emergence of self-recognition in infants. As a result the general consensus is that infants as young as 15 months old and most infants by 24-month are able to respond to their image in a mirror (Anderson, 2005). Research has also shown there are various self-conscious reactions and self-labeling that also indicate the toddler has self-recognition during the second year, though more research is needed to test their validity (Anderson, 2005).
Keller et al. (2005) conducted a study to look at the development of self-conceptions within a cultural context. The study looked at toddlers’ between the age of 18 to 20 months from two different backgrounds; German middle-class families and Cameroonian Nso farmers. The findings from the study concluded German toddlers were able to recognize themselves more often than the Nso toddlers. Keller et al. (2005) believed this was caused by behavioral rates, parenting strategies, and toddler developmental achievements. Researchers named the level of contingent responsiveness as the mechanism responsible for mirror self-recognition (Keller et al., 2005). Another finding from the study showed that Nso toddlers generally showed less behavior than German toddlers while they were in front of the mirror (Keller et al., 2005). 60% of the Nso toddlers would just sit in front of the mirror, while the German toddlers tried the engage the mirror reflection in play (Keller et al., 2005).
Bertenthal and Fischer (1978) conducted a study with the intention of looking at the five-staged developmental sequences of self-recognition behaviors in infants between the ages of 6 and 24 months. The researchers believed their findings settled a disagreement that had been presented in previous research on the development of self-recognition. This argument was based on previous studies, which examined the different behaviors and how they develop at distinct stages within a sequence. However Bertenthal and Fischer (1978) concluded that object permanence and self-recognition showed a strong association, but no reliable relationship between the two skills within the studied age groups.
Courage and Howe (2002) examined how early cognitive skills in infants were evident. It has been concluded many times that Piaget grossly underestimated an infant’s cognitive ability. This lead to more in-depth research as to what the origins of this knowledge were both in nature and in early experience, as well as what constitutes having a particular skill (Courage & Howe, 2002). The Authors felt it is important to note that research was not designed to answer whether these observed associations are simply or whether there is a common mechanism or general process that drives these changes. Nor is it clear whether such a common underlying process or mechanism would be continuous or discontinuous (Courage & Howe, 2002).