After watching the BBC video about the search for consciousness I was interested most in the part about the age at which we gain consciousness. As stated, it's estimated to be around 18-24 months.
What I find most interesting is the idea that adult people cannot recall memories before an estimated age, usually 3 years old, also called Childhood (or Infantile) Amnesia.
However, other research may suggest that this threshold of early memory may be closer to 2 years, or 24 months of age. This made me question if there might be a relationship between this "gaining consciousness" or becoming self-aware and the ability to learn things that can be remembered years later.
This is supposedly caused by the underdevelopment of the limbic system in the brain, including the hippocampus and amygdala. However, have you ever heard of someone claiming to remember something from before they were 2-3 years old? I know I have.
So, I tried finding research into the idea, and found some call Infantile Amnesia a myth, after some research has apparently found 3-day-old infants able to distinguish a passage from Dr. Seuss' "A Cat in the Hat," after it had been read to them while in the womb! This seems to suggest that it would be very unlikely that this "Infantile Amnesia" could be explained solely by the immaturity of some cognitive systems.
This makes me wonder quite a few things:
When are first able to remember things?
How are we able to recall early memories?
Why are some people able to remember events from their infant years while others can't remember before age 3?
This made me remember a movie, Baby Geniuses (which I probably watched when I was around 8, but remember quite vividly), in which a group of babies were able to not only communicate effectively but accomplish extraordinary things until they hit an age, (around 24 months?) at which they simply "cross-over," as if to another world, no longer able to connect with the other babies.
Is there a connection between childhood amnesia and becoming self-aware?
What is your earliest memory? How old were you?