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Conscious Cogn. 2003 Mar;12(1):63-82.

Developmental aspects of consciousness: how much theory of mind do you need to be consciously aware?

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Department of Psychology, University of Salzburg, Hellbrunnerstrasse 34, Salzburg A-5020, Austria.


When do children become consciously aware of events in the world? Five possible strategies are considered for their usefulness in determining the age in question. Three of these strategies ask when children show signs of engaging in activities for which conscious awareness seems necessary in adults (verbal communication, executive control, explicit memory), and two of the strategies consider when children have the ability to have the minimal form of higher-order thought necessary for access consciousness and phenomenal consciousness, respectively. The tentative answer to the guiding question is that children become consciously aware between 12 and 15 months (+/-3 months).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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