In the first portion of the BBC Horizon documentary, The Secret You, Oxford mathematician Marcus de Sautoy discusses the time when we become self aware. He spoke with a specialist conducting a mirror test on when, roughly, the human being knows visually who they are. She conducted a test that required a parent to distract a young child while they put a spot on their cheek. When the children look in the mirror, they should notice the spot and realize that it is not a part of them, that is, if they are self-aware. If they are not self-aware, they will look at themselves in the mirror and not realize that they are staring at themselves. The children that are self-aware will attempt to take the spot off, and the children that are not will not try to take the spot off. According to the video, self awareness is developed somewhere between 18 and 24 months of age.
This is interesting to think about. We often take for granted our appearance and us knowing that it is us, but what in our brains causes us to realize that who we are inside and what we feel is the same person that we see in the mirror? This seems like it is something we take for granted, but there could be some kind of rare brain defect that never makes this connection. Does anyone know of such a disease? It would be eerie to look in the mirror everyday and not recognize yourself. It was also interesting that another person in the video said that with self awareness comes the realization that we will die one day. Do you agree with this? Does knowing our visual self really matter in knowing of our eventual end?