Self-awareness doesn’t appear in the human consciousness until people are about 18 months old. Psychologists have determined this using a “mirror test” where a baby is placed in front of a mirror with a red dot his or her forehead. Early in life, babies will show no signs of recognizing their reflections in the mirror. Then, around 18 months, the babies will touch their foreheads or show some other signs of recognition. Psychologists believe the test shows when the child becomes aware of itself.
Later in life, self-awareness takes on a paramount significance in many people’s lives. People go on trips to “find themselves.” After breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, people have been known to say, “I finally feel like myself again.”