Consciousness is derived from Latin words meaning “to know along with.” Consciousness is the ultimate subjective experience, so an objective definition is almost impossible to conceive. Psychologists believe that the internal experience of self develops in humans around the age of 3 years. Many people consider consciousness as simply the state of being awake. Advances in medical technology, however, have made it possible for people in vegetative states to be “awake” without being responsive to external stimuli, and patients under anesthesia can be conscious or aware of sounds and conversations around them without being awake. Even the ordinary understanding of the term can no longer be held. Consciousness as self-awareness was once thought to be a characteristic only of humans, but now a number of ...

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