In a video published by BBC fascinating, a man named Marcus de Sautoy volunteers to subject himself to research in hopes of discovering more information on consciousness and self awareness. In the first section of this video, he asks the question "when do we first become aware of ourselves?"
In order to research this question, he observes an experiment. In this experiment, children are placed in front of a mirror with a sticker on their cheek. The observers wait to see whether or not the child notices the sticker or not, if they do, they hypothesis is that the child is self aware.
The results of the experiment showed that time and time again, a human seems to become self aware between the period of 18-24 months. Before this period, although the children would make eye contact with the mirror, they did not seem to recognize the figure they were looking at as themselves.
This experiment has been done on many different species, and the only ones that have passed are chimpanzees, orangutangs, and humans.
I find this experiment to be incredibly interesting. In the future, I wonder if scientists will be able to develop an experiment that shows how the human body becomes self aware, and what brain functions are necessary in order for a person to understand who they actually are. The video explained that being self aware gives us the ability to remember the past, be conscious of whats going on in the present, and even imagine the future. I would be very interested to find out where in the brain this takes place, and what exactly the thought processes look like.