When do we first become aware of ourselves? Is it when we first are conceived or when we first pop out of the womb? Or is it after we make our first friend and notice they look different from what we do and we are two separate people? What a good question that I never really thought about.
In the section of this video, Professor Vasu Reddy performed the mirror self recognition test, developed by Professor Gordon Gallup Jr., to determine whether or not a toddler was consciously aware. The test involved putting the toddler in front of a mirror and allowing them to look at their face and then their mother would take them away from the mirror, pretending to wipe their nose with a tissue but actually put a dot on the child's face near their nose. Then the child would be allowed to go to the mirror again at their will and if the child looked into the mirror and realized that there was a dot on their face (shown if they looked at their face and immediately went to touch the dot), they were considered to be consciously aware because they were able to realize that the body that they feel is the same one that is reflected into the mirror. From this experiment it was determined that we become consciously aware anytime from 18-24 months.
Professor Gordon Gallup Jr. originally developed this test for determining if animals were consciously aware. In result of doing this experiment to hundreds of different animals, it was shown that only orangutans and chimpanzees, along with humans, were the only ones to show significant evidence that they were consciously aware. In order to be consciously aware, the subject needs to be able to think about themselves in the past, present, and even in the future. The downfall of being consciously aware is that you know that one day your conscious will no longer exist. In the words of Professor Gallup Jr., "death awareness is the price we pay for self awareness".
This video made me think about my siblings and when they first started becoming consciously aware and how I was able to watch them change, becoming their own little people with personalities of their own and it made me think about myself. I uploaded one of my favorite pictures of my dad and I and looking back at it I wonder if I was aware of my conscious. It's remarkable to think that at one time things were so much simpler and carefree when I had no idea of my conscious self. It's also mind-boggling to think about my cat looking into the mirror, as she often does, but she has no conscious of who she is or what happened to her in the past. This video was extremely interesting and enjoyable. It made me think about things in a whole other perspective, in ways that I never thought of.