When does one become aware of self?

user-pic
Vote 0 Votes

Out of hundreds of animals that have been tested Humans, Chimpanzees, and Orangutans are the only ones that are capable of being aware of ones self. Humans usually become self-aware between the ages 18 - 24 months. The mirror self-recognition test is how animals are tested whether or not they are self-aware. This test involves placing a little sticker on a child's face and seeing if they realize that the sticker is on their own face. If a child does not respond to the sticker they think that the sticker is on the face that is in the mirror and not their own. I have taken self-awareness for granted my whole life. How do we become self-aware when no other animals are? Now that I think more on self-awareness I am curious if there are different animals that can be self-aware and how exactly we become self-aware. Also I am curious about why we become self-aware at that exact time in our lives. The one disadvantage to self-awareness (or maybe advantage) is that with it comes death-awareness.

8 Comments

| Leave a comment

Every time I learn about evolution and how similar we are to chimpanzees and orangutans it freaks me out, but I liked reading about this comparison because I felt like it was a different approach to the similarities that we do have. It continues to blow my mind how smart these two animals are, but I wonder how they have self awareness? Is it a part of our brain that develops that lets us become self awareness and do chimps and orangutans have that same brain development or that same brain part? or is it something completely different and irrelevant that allows us 3 species to have self awareness. I remember watching a documentary focused on dolphins and they did tests with the glass walls of the tank that they lived in and they tried it with mirrors to see if dolphins understood it was themselves they were looking at. Such an interesting topic!

I think that it is interesting that chimpanzees and orangutangs are the only other creatures to display self awareness. I would have thought that since dolphins are one of the most intelligent animals that they would also display self awareness. It is interesting to think that there might be a part of the brain developed that is associated with self awareness. I also wanted to know if animal self awareness and being able to recognize other individuals is associated?

i cant help wonder if the fact that there is something sticky on their face or if the powder they put on these animals are irritating their faces. we keep learning that correlation is not causation so while i think its amazing that we as human beings learn to identify ourselves by 18-24months i almost wonder if their is a third factor or variable in this equation.
am i the only one who thinks that?
am i over analyzing something?

That’s an interesting study. I’m not surprised to find that only Chimpanzees and Orangutans fall under this self-awareness category with Humans. I’m actually more surprised that Gorillas did not fall under this category. I can kind of see why Chimpanzees and Orangutans relate to Humans. First of all we are all descendants of apes. Overall we are more successful in evolutionary aspects as well. Humans over succeed evolutionary success from Chimpanzees and Orangutans because we are able to do much more as a group. Overall we all share similar characteristics that distinguishes us all into that familial category, explaining why we are all able to be self-aware of ourselves. Our brains over time evolved as our minds become smarter and more complex. We are then more self-aware of ourselves.

I think it's somewhat hard to believe that only three animals have a sense of self-awareness. In the particular test, that is obviously true, but is that really a fair test? Other research indicates that there are many varying degrees of awareness which I think is a much more reasonable explanation. Humans, Chimps, and Orangutangs might gave the highest degree of self-awareness, but I think a lot of animals have some degree of it.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/animal-emotions/200907/do-animals-know-who-they-are

How do you think self-awareness is tied to consciousness? Or is it?

This study is fascinating but I wonder if only three animals have a sense of self-awareness. Maybe the study is correct, and in this case I am sure chimps and orangutans have self awareness, but I question whether other animals have self awareness we are just not aware of. The world is a big place, and for only three animals to have self-awareness seems strange to me.

This article is very interesting. I found it incredible that humans, chimpanzees, and orangutangs are the only 3 animals that are self-aware. This makes me wonder if there are other animals that are self-aware but we just have not been able to test these animals. It does not surprise me that Chimpanzees and orangutangs are also self-aware because they are so similar to humans.

Leave a comment

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by herrm089 published on February 19, 2012 4:02 PM.

Super Sensitive Senses was the previous entry in this blog.

A subconscious nowhere: The mystery of what's happening in our brains during sleep. is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.