The Secret You: When do we become aware of self?

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In the video "The Secret You," the study of becoming self-aware was presented. In the video, babies were placed in front a mirror for a period of time where they could observe their reflection and absorb their appearance. They were then taken away and the mothers would place a dot on their face and position the babies back in front of the mirror. During this study, researchers were looking to see if the babies would react to this new image, and notice that there was something on the face of the baby that wasn't there moments ago. For babies that were 18 months and younger, no reaction to the dot on the baby's face occurred. Over many trials, it was determined that the first signs of self recognition- realizing that the person in the mirror was who the child feels and remembers themselves to be-occurred between 18 and 24 months. These babies were the ones who realized that something was incorrect about their new appearance.

The same methods in only a couple other animals; Chimpanzees, and Orangutans have proved self-awareness. What makes our minds so different though? How do we know for sure that other animals and species aren't self-aware as well? What are some ways that this theory of self-awareness has been tested in other animals? In the video, one of the researches stated, "death-awareness is the price we pay for self-awareness." Other animals and organisms present death-awareness by 'survival of the fittest.' Animals flee from predators when they recognize that a different species doesn't present the same appearance as their own, or when they sense danger, or harm. So how do we know that other animals aren't self aware if they can clearly sense death-awareness, harm, and danger? If they can clearly tell the difference between predators and prey? How does self-awareness even represent death-awareness?

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This page contains a single entry by griml028 published on October 9, 2011 8:44 PM.

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