New review finds consciousness could emerge before birth

by | Jan 7, 2024 | Story Ideas | 0 comments

January 2024

The vast majority of us don’t remember early infancy. Infant consciousness is mysterious, at least in Western materialist culture.

The prevailing theory throughout the 20th century was that consciousness didn’t develop until many months after birth. Some neuroscientists thought the onset was as late as close to a child’s first birthday. Research progress has been difficult because of the absence of the capacity for verbal report or intentional behavior.

In a new meta-study, neuroscientists and philosophers from Australia, Germany, Ireland and the U.S. have reviewed the research in the field. They draw the conclusion that consciousness could occur much earlier than most scientists have suggested, possibly even in the final month of pregnancy: “Recent research points in favor of early-onset accounts of the emergence of consciousness”.

This is consistent with spiritual approaches that hold that embodiment of the soul occurs toward the end of the gestation period.

If consciousness is primary and precedes matter, as is posited in idealism, it doesn’t make sense that it should emerge gradually, either during pregnancy or after birth.

Anders Bolling

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