Who Invented Social Mirror Theory?

Social Mirror Theory is a concept that refers to the way in which people perceive themselves based on the social feedback they receive from others. It is an idea that has been widely studied in psychology and sociology, and it has its roots in the work of several prominent theorists.

Charles Horton Cooley

One of the earliest proponents of Social Mirror Theory was American sociologist Charles Horton Cooley. In his book Human Nature and the Social Order, published in 1902, Cooley introduced the concept of the “looking-glass self”. He argued that people’s sense of self is shaped by their perceptions of how others view them.

According to Cooley, individuals imagine how they appear to others and then use these perceptions to form judgments about themselves. These judgments are based on how they believe others feel about them, and they shape their self-concept and behavior.

George Herbert Mead

Another important figure in the development of Social Mirror Theory was American philosopher and sociologist George Herbert Mead. Mead’s work focused on the ways in which language and communication shape social interaction and influence individual behavior.

In his book Mind, Self, and Society, published posthumously in 1934, Mead introduced the concept of “role-taking”, which refers to the ability to imagine oneself from another person’s perspective. According to Mead, role-taking is essential for understanding how individuals develop a sense of self through social interaction.

Jacques Lacan

French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan also contributed to the development of Social Mirror Theory. Lacan’s work focused on the role of language and symbolic systems in shaping human consciousness and self-perception.

In his theory of the “mirror stage”, Lacan argued that infants develop a sense of self by seeing their own reflection in a mirror. This experience allows them to differentiate themselves from others and begin to form a distinct sense of identity.


While the concept of Social Mirror Theory has been developed by several prominent theorists, it is clear that Charles Horton Cooley, George Herbert Mead, and Jacques Lacan have all made significant contributions to our understanding of how social interaction shapes individual self-perception. By studying these theories, we can gain a deeper understanding of the ways in which individuals develop a sense of self through their interactions with others.