What makes me "I", and not just a body with a brain?

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In the BBC Horizon video, it presents the idea that who we are, and what makes our consciousness, is the interaction between different parts of our brain. It is not any specific part of the brain, but the interaction between parts.

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A study was done in this video where psychologists tested the difference between being awake and being asleep. When the subject was awake, they activated a certain part of the brain with a series of mild electrical shocks. The activation in this part sparked interactions between other areas of the brain. On the other hand, when they repeated this action when the subject was asleep, the activation remained in the part of the brain that had the electrical shock.

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This tells us that our consciousness is not present while being asleep: unconscious. Our consciousness is also thought to be what makes us have our sense of self. If we do not have that consciousness while being asleep, we, in turn, do not have our sense of self. In the Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology, it gives examples of what sense of self is: "Social self-concept [is] one's perceptions about how one is regarded by others: 'people think I have a great sense of humor'; and self-ideals [are] what or how one would like to be: 'I want to be a lawyer" or "I wish I were thinner'."

I believe that the BBC video makes us realize the significance of psychology and science in understanding ourselves. I understand more how my mind works after watching this video.

This makes me wonder: at which point does someone become conscious? Why is it that even when I am asleep, I still feel that I am me? I still have my "soul," which is another name that some call the distinction between body and mind. I also still dream when I am sleeping. What does this tell us about the link between dreaming and our sense of self?

What makes us who we are?

2 Comments

I enjoyed reading your blog but I had a question on the last paragraph. How do we know who we are when we are asleep? If we are sleeping then aren't we accessing the subconsciousness? Also this may seem like a cliche' but don't experiences make up who we are ?

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This page contains a single entry by mcmah202 published on February 22, 2012 6:31 PM.

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