Self-Awareness and Differentiating Self From Others

There is a self-awareness test called mark and mirror task designed by Gordon Gallup, an animal behaviorist, and Beulah Amsterdam, a clinical child psychologist. This test was invented to understand the ability to see oneself as separate from others. Both researchers knew that young children and apes had a liking for mirrors, but were curious if they were using them for the same purpose. 

We are not innately self-aware. Once we develop this state of mind we gain the ability to notice our traits, behaviors, and feelings. Changing our focus and applying our attention to ourselves. Allowing us to achieve differentiation so we can truly understand our experience and learn from situations in our environment with people we are connected to.

Quote from Gordon Gallup: 

“Once you can become the object of your own attention, and you can begin to think about yourself, you can use your experience to infer comparable experiences in others.” 

It is found that both humans and animals develop self recognition before the age of 3. 

Video explaining Gordon Gallup mark and mirror task:

Monkeys seem to recognize their reflections : Nature News & Comment


  1. Your post is very informative and it gives me a better understanding of self-awareness. This shows how important this phase of development is for people and animals to go through. It is often overlooked how significant self-awareness is for the learning of situations in our environment.


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