Self-awareness is often defined in terms of an ability to engage in reflective awareness. According to most theorists, this requires certain types of cognitive abilities. Even in its most primitive form (visual selfRecognition and the ability to recognize oneself in a mirror), self-awareness appears to be restricted to a small subset of animals including humans, chimpanzees, orangutans, and dolphins. In humans, this ability is not present at birth and only begins to appear around 12 to 18 months of age. Furthermore, there appears to be some support for George Herbert Mead's claim that development of this ability requires a social rearing history in which the individual comes to recognize that he or she is distinct from others.

Beyond an ability to be reflectively aware of oneself, ...

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