There’s an interesting article appearing on sciencedaily.com regarding rhesus monkeys being taught to recognize themselves in mirrors. According to researchers these monkeys do not recognize their faces unless taught to do so by researchers and once they begin to recognize their faces they use the mirrors to explore other parts of their bodies, although they were NOT taught to do so by researchers.
In reading this article I couldn’t help but consider that perhaps researchers are teaching the rhesus monkeys more than just face recognition. After they recognize their own faces the monkeys then use the mirrors to explore other parts of their bodies even though the researchers did not teach them this behavior. So I began wondering if what the researchers were really teaching the monkeys was self awareness!
That’s an interesting prospect indicating that self awareness can be taught. Do we teach self awareness inadvertently to humans also? Or is self awareness in humans innate? We’ve always thought of the idea of “self” as clearly human but it may not be afterall. And if the concept of self and self awareness is not distinctly human then we can add this to a long and growing list of things we once thought to be distinctly human but discovered it just isn’t so. Things that we THOUGHT separated humans from apes. The more we discover about apes and monkeys, the more we come to realize that very little, in fact, separates us from them. I know that bursts some bubbles especially among the human egotistical but, hey, read it and weep!
You can find the article at: