Babies have a similar awareness as adults   Leave a comment

  • The EEG investigation seems to matter little test person.  By measuring the brain activity of French researchers were able to identify the neural signature of consciousness already at five month old infants.
    The EEG investigation seems to matter little test person. By measuring the brain activity of French researchers were able to identify the neural signature of consciousness already at five month old infants.

Researchers on the basis of neuronal markers in infants from five months conscious, albeit slowed, exercise thereof

Babies take their environmental aware of it? And if so, how can the find when they speak neither, nor can formulate their own thoughts? Used to solve this complex problem, a French researcher opposite approach: They wanted to find out whether the observed in adult neural marker of consciousness are also present in babies.

Neuronal markers for consciousness

Recent research showed that the adult brain reacts in two stages to the perception of an external event. In the first 200-300 milliseconds perception processing is done completely unconsciously and neuronal activity increases linearly. The second stage is marked according to the threshold of consciousness, through a non-linear response. Only if the event, such as the presentation of an object continues long enough to reach this threshold, there is a delayed response, and a conscious perception. Only this delayed and non-linear response of the brain is considered as neuronal marker of consciousness.

The Wissaenschafter the CNRS Laboratory for Cognitive and Psycholinguistic Sciences and the Neurospin have tested the existence of this marker in 80 children aged 5, 12 and 15 months in their study. During their electrical brain activity with electroencephalography (EEG) was measured, they got to see faces for a certain period (above or below their perception threshold). In all age groups, the researchers were able to observe the same delay and nonlinear response in adults and thus confirm the existence of these “neural signature of consciousness” even in babies.

Slow perception

However, the reaction time is about 300 milliseconds in adults and in infants is much later – after at least 1 second at the youngest. These results show that the perception of consciousness underlying cerebral mechanisms in infants are available very early. However, they are relatively slow and are only in the course of the development of ever faster. 

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