Early signs of visual awareness emerge in human babies five months after being born, a study has shown.
A weak spark of conscious perception can be measured in five-month-olds which strengthens with age, scientists revealed.
The discovery may provide a new method of assessing patients in vegetative or minimally conscious states who cannot communicate.
Demonstrating visual consciousness in infants is difficult because, like some patients with severe brain injuries, they cannot report what they have seen.
The new research focused on an electrical signal produced in the brain when someone is briefly aware of a visual scene.