Self Awareness Research Paper

2300 Words 10 Pages
Throughout the history of the science of psychology, researchers, clinicians, and theorists have all attempted to answer the question “what makes us uniquely human?” It is obvious to the untrained observer of nature how humans are different from other mammals in the animal kingdom: humans can think rationally and logically, have feelings and emotions, develop more slowly than any other mammal, and are able to work together on a massive scale to form sprawling civilizations. When one steps back and looks at the bigger picture, most of what makes us human all boils down to the fact that humans are self-aware. Being self-aware is more than simply being consciousness, or being alert and oriented in the environment. Every mammal is conscious to …show more content…
Many patients who have Alzheimer’s and dementia exhibit a lack of self-awareness about the decrease of their functioning levels. This impaired self-awareness is termed “anosognosia” (Prigatano, 2009). The inability to be able to assess one’s functioning is a profound loss, as these individuals are unable to select activities and tasks that are appropriate for their level of functioning. One study found that over-estimating overall functioning was correlated with atrophy of the bilateral right frontal and subcortical regions, including dorsal parts of the superior and middle frontal gyri, lateral and medial orbitofrontal gyri, orbital parts of the inferior and superior frontal gyri, right anterior insula, putamen, thalamus, and caudate, and pons and midbrain. They also found that underestimating functioning was correlated with atrophy in the right rostral anterior cingulate (Shany-Ur, et al., 2014). These brain regions that are correlated with deficits in self-awareness are numerous, and it is entirely possible that all of them contribute to self-awareness in some way. Much more research should be done on self-awareness in patients with neurodegenerative diseases to help pin-point the connections between brain regions that affect …show more content…
Treatments such as stem-cell therapy (Lunn, Sakowski, Hur, & Feldman, 2011) and deep brain stimulation (Schiff, et al., 2007) could be of great help to those who have a disorders of self-awareness if medical professionals had a comprehensive picture of how different brain regions work together to create the different aspects of self-awareness. Aside from clinical applications, understanding the neurological basis for self-awareness helps us better understand how humans are different from other mammals in the animal

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