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When Do Babies Become Conscious?

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posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 02:44 PM
I think this is very interesting.

For everyone who’s looked into an infant’s sparkling eyes and wondered what goes on in its little fuzzy head, there’s now an answer. New research shows that babies display glimmers of consciousness and memory as early as 5 months old.

The way our brains work has always fascinated me. The way our conscious minds develop and process information.
How some people are better wired for certain tasks than others. Pretty much anything to do with our minds is interesting to me. So when this caught my attention, I thought I should share it here with all of you.

Studies on adults show a particular pattern of brain activity: When your senses detect something, such as a moving object, the vision center of your brain activates, even if the object goes by too fast for you to notice. But if the object remains in your visual field for long enough, the signal travels from the back of the brain to the prefrontal cortex, which holds the image in your mind long enough for you to notice. Scientists see a spike in brain activity when the senses pick something up, and another signal, the “late slow wave,” when the prefrontal cortex gets the message. The whole process takes less than one-third of a second.

Yeah our brains are pretty awesome.

This next part I think was also pretty cool.

The team was surprised to see that the 5-month-olds also showed a late slow wave, although it was weaker and more drawn out than in the older babies. Kouider speculates that the late slow wave may be present in babies as young as 2 months.

This late slow wave may indicate conscious thought, Kouider and colleagues report online today in Science. The wave, feedback from the prefrontal cortex, suggests that the image is stored briefly in the baby’s temporary “working memory.” And consciousness, Kouider says, is composed of working memory.

I'm 30 years old, I'll be the first to admit that my short term memory is probably not the best, but I like to think my long term memory is not too shabby. The earliest memory I can clearly recall is from when I was about one year old.

How about you ATS?
I'm sure we have members here who might be able to remember things from even earlier, and maybe even some who can't remember anything before they were 20.(Obviously victims of diabolical Govt. experiments)

Also, what kind of impact might this have on the abortion debate?
If it can be proven that infants are "unaware" until two months of age?

What are your thoughts?

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 03:00 PM
when the evil doctor slapps his botty seconds after emerging from a black hole ouch ?

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 03:02 PM
I'd hazard to guess my first conscious memory is around 2 years.

Interestingly - evidence suggests through ultrasounds that babies begin dreaming (REM) at around 23 weeks gestation. So could it be argued that conscious awareness begins much sooner than 5 or even 2 months old? In order to dream - does there need to be consciousness?

Evidence also suggests that newborn babies will respond and recognize their parents voices. Is this evidence of consciousness?

When do Human beings start to Dream?

Wonderful and interesting thread. S & F.


posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 03:11 PM
I remember being in the womb. Freaky dreams until aged about 5. Difficult and frustrating trying to explain sounds and feelings I didn't understand at that age to parents who just wanted me to sleep.

All made sense about 30 years later.

I can close my eyes now, concentrate and travel right back to when I was a passenger. Now I understand, it's not scary. It's kinda soothing now I can flow with it.


posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 03:21 PM
reply to post by nerbot

Any reasonably intelligent pregnant mother or parent knows the "fetus" responds and recognizes sounds and familiarities. How early does a fetus have consciousness? I don't know for sure.

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 03:25 PM
Great question

When it starts being able to interact with stimuli... hearing, feeling, seeing the darkness of the eyelids, womb

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 03:26 PM
5 months seems pretty late. I have 5 girls and they all recognized either mine or my wife's voices at 6-10 weeks.

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 03:27 PM
reply to post by CirqueDeTruth

That is a very interesting article, thank you for sharing it.

This, in particular intrigued me.

There are researchers who argue that dreams originate as early as in the mother’s womb, whereas others posit that they first occur when a child’s brain becomes more developed, around five to seven years old.

I am sure others can attest to this, but from personal experience, I had a recurring dream from the time I was two until I was about 18.

I was flying over a vast forest, as far as the eye could see. it eventually evolved into a war dream where I landed and was running through the forest in a huge combat zone.Which in hindsight was kind of odd. As I eventually joined the military, and have deployed several times to Iraq and Afghanistan. Though I have yet to be in a battle in a forest, hopefully that does not end up coming true.

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 03:38 PM
I don't know how old I was, but I can remember a sequence of thoughts from a time before I knew any language.
I was lying in my cot next to a window., probably in the morning.
I was aware that I wanted to get out.
I was aware that i could not manage the catch on the gate of the cot (a simple hook-and-eye affair, as I know retrospectively).
I was aware that if I cried, someone would come along and let me out.
So that's what I did.
My last memory of the episode is my father opening and walking through a door on the right hand end of the opposite wall (which identifies the room as my later bedroom).

I find it really frustrating not knowing what happened next, because I want to know if I succeeded in getting out.
(My mother, years afterwards, observed "he probably just threw some toys into the cot". No! I don't want toys! I want exit!)

edit on 25-4-2013 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 03:39 PM
Insane crapola. At 5 months in the womb or 5 months out of the womb? Because at 5 months in the womb, they can be born preemie and survive AND are CONSCIOUS, and at 5 months out of the womb, they're SUPER CONSCIOUNESS, able to learn at faster rates than you'll ever learn in life, with distinct likes and preferences. In fact, from birth on.

Now my memories (that I recalled all my life from early childhood) started earlier than 1 month, having a fear of a certain drop (they think babies dont notice these things or know what harm or death is, but I did) on my grandmother's property, and having my father place me on a sloping prickly grass, head down, on a pink blanket and taking a picture, and screaming at him to pick me up. I recall being nursed, fed, and fed in a high chair, as an infant, the taste of peas, and where the high chair was placed, showed it to them. Crawling and playing with the dog, and on the piano at under a year as well. Crawling on the prickly grass, calling everything that moved including the ants doggy (at about 10 months) at about 6 months was saying momma and dadda consciosly at will. Mom used to sing pretty baby to me all the time and at 8 months I said Pretty Baby. I was potty trained completely at 18 months. I remember how horrible it felt to be in those plastic things and the huge red marks they left so chose to learn quick.

I remember taking the womb in my later months of pregnancy, shooting in like a shooting star, and it being all fuzzy, dark warm reddish snug place, like a nest or cocoon feeling.

And I always felt like me. You know the me that you feel when you're meditating zenmind, thats how babies feel, even in the womb by a certain age when soul is present. Which is usually before you're born. You are your soul.
edit on 25-4-2013 by Unity_99 because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 03:52 PM
reply to post by watchitburn

When Do Babies Become Conscious?

This question parallels the one of when does conception render a human being? This is, of course, the killing ground between the 'right to life' and 'right to choose' camps; a no-man's land where truth and morality succumbs to politics on both ends.

But... as far as to when infants become 'conscious'? I recall all my children from their first moments and have no doubt that they we capable of responding to external stimuli. For instance, my second daughter did not like being touched. My second boy loved to hear people talking around him but hated the sound of music.

I think that consciousness likely arrive in the womb and I also believe there is ample evidence of this via various studies over the years.

My second wife, mother of my last two children, used to tell me that when I had the TV too loud at night (during her last trimester), they would begin using her ribcage like ladder trying to get out and turn it down, lol.

edit on 25-4-2013 by redoubt because: typo repair

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 04:00 PM
I think as soon as their born much sooner then science has discovered. I think that they are not able to remember that early from birth because the memory center of the brain may not be fully functional. just like someone with Alzhiemers there conscious but just don't remember anything.

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 04:04 PM
As it turns out, the higher function level cortical areas of the brains of infants don't really develop fully until about 10 months (after birth). So until that time, they don't really have a conscious sense of self. So they're smart, and running on instinct, but they're really not a "person" any more than a bug or a fish.

That, and high infant mortality rates have in the past prompted some cultures to not even name their children until they're one year old.

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 04:13 PM
I'm not sure what my opinion is as to when consciousness kicks in, but my daughter has told me several times that when she was around two years old, she all of a sudden realized that she was alive. I'm not sure if that means she started remembering things at that stage or what. I asked her to elaborate on "alive" and she said she couldn't explain what she meant. She was always an intelligent child so I'm pretty sure she was conscious well before the age of two. I just thought I'd share what she said because it seems that it could fit the thread.

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 04:20 PM
reply to post by gemineye

I believe that meant when she had a term for it and knew what it meant, but up until then had always experienced it without being able to put into words.

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 04:41 PM

Originally posted by Unity_99
I believe that meant when she had a term for it and knew what it meant, but up until then had always experienced it without being able to put into words.

Not exactly. It's more likely that she really didn't experience it at all. There is a particular thing that we mostly take for granted that is "self-awareness." We become aware that we exist in the world, and see ourselves as separate but still a part of it, interacting with it. It requires a very specific kind of brain development, and it's what makes us human beings rather than just animals running around on instinct and superficial stimulus. Until our brains develop, we're genetically human, but not cognitively human, which is something that can't just be dismissed as unimportant. Ants and bugs are aware of and react to their environments. We human beings are more than that.

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 04:48 PM
Very interesting thread.
My smart ass answer is;
I'd say they actually become concious
at about 45 years old .

That is if they study the ancient manuscripts
and ponder often.

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 04:53 PM
reply to post by gemineye

A few people I know say that one day when they were young they suddenly realised they were 'alive' and they usually follow with that they are 'back again' as in they were here before, I suppose like a reincarnation realisation. I've always felt like I've always been here since being born anyway, though I have a memory from the womb, which I used to tell my parents about at a very young age, though the memory is of mainly colour (like the purple/blue/red colour you see when you close your eyes) and the feeling of ' I am here'.

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 04:55 PM
reply to post by Blue Shift

That is probably the best explanation of the human condition that I have ever heard.
Well put.

Octopi and Chimps are able to identify things and find uses for them, but are they able to experience, manipulate and effect change in their reality to the extent that humans do? Can they imagine and contemplate as humans?

All available evidence points to a resounding no.

There is an awareness that people possess that sets us apart from all other things on this rock. This study will lead to others that will help us understand it and result in a better understanding of what makes

posted on Apr, 25 2013 @ 05:15 PM

Originally posted by watchitburn

Also, what kind of impact might this have on the abortion debate?
If it can be proven that infants are "unaware" until two months of age?

What are your thoughts?

I think it is irrelevant to the abortion debate when they become conscious...
...the only question is when are they able to survive independent of the mother?

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