> Babies Have Self-Awareness From The Minute They're Born
> http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/22/babies-self-awareness_n_4323481.html
> By: By Stephanie Pappas, Senior Writer 
> Published: 11/21/2013 12:10 PM EST on LiveScience
> With their uncoordinated movements and unfocused eyes, newborns may seem 
> pretty clueless about the world. But new research finds that from the 
> minute they are born, babies are well aware of their own bodies.
> Body awareness is an important skill for distinguishing the self from 
> others, and failure to develop body awareness may be a component of some 
> disorders such as 
> autism<http://www.livescience.com/34704-autism-symptoms-diagnosis-and-treatments.html>.
> But little research has been done to find out when humans start to 
> understand that their body is their own.
> To determine babies' awareness of their bodies, the researchers took a 
> page from studies on adults. In a famous illusion, people can be convinced 
> that a rubber hand is their 
> own<http://www.livescience.com/34776-virtual-body-merges-with-real-body.html>if
>  they see the hand stroked while their own hand, hidden from view, is 
> simultaneously stroked.
> These studies show that information from multiple senses — vision and 
> touch, in this case — are important for body awareness, said Maria Laura 
> Filippetti, a doctoral student at the Center for Brain and Cognitive 
> Development at the University of London. [Incredible! 9 Brainy Baby 
> Abilities<http://www.livescience.com/14343-amazing-brainy-baby-abilities.html>
> ]
> To find out if the same is true of babies, Filippetti and her colleagues 
> tested 40 newborns who were between 12 hours and four days old. The babies 
> sat on the experimenter's lap in front of a screen. On-screen, a video 
> showed a baby's face being stroked by a paintbrush. The researcher either 
> stroked the baby's face with a brush in tandem with the stroking shown on 
> the screen, or delayed the stroking by five seconds.
> Next, the babies saw the same video but flipped upside down. Again, the 
> researcher stroked the infants' faces in tandem with the upside-down image 
> or delayed the stroking by three seconds.
> Working with babies so young is a challenge, Filippetti told LiveScience.
> "It is challenging just in terms of the time you actually have when the 
> baby is fully awake and responsive," she said.
> To determine whether the babies were associating the facial stroking they 
> saw on-screen with their own bodies, as in the rubber-hand 
> illusion<http://www.livescience.com/28694-non-amputees-feel-phantom-limb.html>,
> the researchers measured how long the babies looked at the screen in each 
> condition. Looking time is the standard measurement used in infant 
> research, because babies can't answer questions or verbally indicate their 
> interest.
> The researchers found that babies looked the longest at the screen when 
> the stroking matched what they felt on their own faces. This was true only 
> of the right-side-up images; infants didn't seem to associate the flipped 
> faces with their own. [See video of the baby 
> experiment<http://www.livescience.com/41403-newborn-babies-understand-their-bodies-video.html>
> ]
> The findings suggest that babies are born with the basic mechanisms they 
> need to build body awareness, Filippetti and her colleagues report today 
> (Nov. 21) in the journal Current Biology.
> "These findings have important implications for our understanding of body 
> perception throughout development," Filippetti said. Perhaps more 
> important, she added, becoming more knowledgeable about normal development 
> may help scientists better understand autism and related disorders. Autism 
> research frequently focuses on abnormalities in social 
> development<http://www.livescience.com/41000-autism-infant-eye-tracking.html>,
> Filippetti said, but less is known about how children with autism perceive 
> the self.
> Next, Filippetti and her colleagues hope to use noninvasive brain imaging 
> to determine how the newborn brain responds to sensory input to build body 
> awareness.

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