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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Young Children Remember Life Before Conception

New research indicates some children recall their lives before they were born and, even more strangely, even before they were conceived.

The concept of life preceding physical fertilization is common for people who believe in reincarnation. But is such an idea learned? Or is it based on an innate feeling about our own immortality?

New research analyzes answers given by two groups of children—one urban, one rural—suggests the children revealed glimpses into their own immortality. It seems children intuitively believe that their own existence, at least in the form of feelings and wants, pre-dated their conception.
“Even kids who had biological knowledge about reproduction still seemed to think that they had existed in some sort of eternal form,” says lead author Natalie Emmons, a postdoctoral fellow in psychology at Boston University. “And that form really seemed to be about emotions and desires.”  
Emmons and co-author Deborah Kelemen interviewed two sets of children in Ecuador—one in an urban area outside the capital of Quito, where the population is overwhelmingly Catholic, and another in an indigenous Shuar village in the Amazon basin. They were curious to discover whether the Shuar children, who grow up in a natural environment and learn early on about the cycle of life and death, would have different assumptions than kids raised in an urban setting.  
While looking at the image of their pre-pregnancy mother, the kids were asked specific questions about their “pre-life capacities.” After answering such questions as “Could you be hungry?” and “Could you feel sad?” they were asked to explain the reasoning behind their answers.
Researchers found the urban and rural children gave pretty much the same answers. But by ages seven and eight, they rejected the notion that they had “bodily capacities” such as sight or hearing before conception.


10 comments:

Anonymous said...

I remember my own conception. As a very small child (perhaps from infancy) I recurringly had a clear memory of the moments before & during conception. This has persisted as a clear visual memory of 2 opposing but exactly inter-meshing forces (almost forms)enclosing me from either side & binding me in limitation. I recall clearly the feeling that I was losing my vastness & freedom. I was trepidant & although I was willfully allowing this to occur I also regretted it at the same time. As the enclosing forces met & encased me I lost consciousness as I had known it. I recall distinctly that I had come from a state of expansive existence but had no specific memories remaining after that previous state slipped away. Now I must point out that it was only in later life that I understood intellectually that this was conception as it was just an 'organic' experience as a child. I did not recall this later in life but have been aware of it continuously from then to now.

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