Researchers from the national research agency in France have found that infants as young as five months old may show signs of conscious thought.
Learn the age at which babies become conscious. Researchers from the national research agency in France have found that infants as young as five months old may show signs of conscious thought.By attaching electrodes to an infants head, the neuroscientists were able to measure changes in electrical brain activity called event related potentials, or ERP. The study tried to use a sample group of 240 babies, ages 5, ten and 15 months, but only 80 of them were able to complete the study. The subjects who were one year or older had an ERP that was three times slower than an adult’s reaction time. Younger subjects also exhibited ERPs that were slower and a little bit different from adult ERP patterns. Results of the study show that the basis for conscious thought might be present in infants, and the researchers think that the same electrical brain patterns might be happening to children as young as two months old. Some scientists think that the actual results may not warrant the presence of consciousness, as we know it. According to critics, using data on brain activity and functional magnetic resonance imaging is not enough to definitively say that the babies possess consciousness.