I’ve always thought that self-awareness comes from how you are raised, experiences you go through, and other things that help to shape you as a person. According to research described in a recent Scientific American article, the brain is very much involved in self-awareness. The article notes that researchers at the University of Iowa say self-awareness comes from “a diffuse patchwork of pathways in the brain, including other regions.”
After studying a brain-damaged patient, the researchers found that he still had a sense of self-awareness and self-recognition, despite damage to the three regions thought to play a role in self-awareness. In the article, David Rudrauf, who worked with the patient, said, “What this research clearly shows is that self-awareness corresponds to a brain process that cannot be localized to a single region of the brain.” The patient “found a deep capacity for introspection,” and also “demonstrated self-agency.” The bottom line: Self-awareness is much more complex and relies on more parts of the brain than previously thought.
I never really took into account that the brain may play a role in self-awareness. I always attributed it to…myself! In other words, I figured it was something that just came to me as time went on and not because my brain was controlling things. I sometimes wake up from a deep sleep and forget what day it is and where I am, even if I’m in my own bedroom. But after I blink my eyes a few times and get my head together, my awareness is back.