The Baby In the Mirror

How will you know when your child recognizes herself? The “mirror test,” originally developed by psychologist Gordon Gallup Jr., in 1970, provides a clue:

  • Show your child her face in a mirror.
  • Then remove the mirror and dab a little red lipstick on the end of her nose.
  • Let your child see her face in the mirror again.

If she reaches out to touch the red dot on the face in the mirror, she believes that the face belongs to a different child. If she touches the dot on her own nose, she knows that the person in the mirror is herself!

This also works with a photo of your little one. If you show it to her early in toddlerhood, she likely won’t be able to name herself. That ability will emerge over the next few months.

Researchers have found that children are not developmentally able to pass the mirror test until sometime between 18 months and 2 years of age.

Disclaimer: This page is not intended to provide medical advice about your child. Always seek the advice of a physician, qualified healthcare provider or child-development specialist with any questions you have about your child's health, medical condition or development. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you read here.

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