: Where does the almost universal concept that we are immortal come from?
FINDING: When it came to researching where notions of immortality come from, researchers decided to focus on pre-life beliefs. Cultures tend not to focus on life before birth, so the selected groups of children in the study could not have preconceived beliefs.
The two groups from Ecuador were comprised of indigenous children in one, and urbanised children in the other. Both groups were very similar, however, believing they didn’t have bodies before birth, but they did have feelings and emotions existing before birth.
IMPLICATIONS: At an early age Humans express a belief in the immortality of feelings and emotions. The researchers posited that this may come from our highly developed social reasoning. The ability to know what someone is thinking, how they are feeling, their needs, and, then, how they might act is such an important part of what it means to be Human that it can spill into other areas of life without our knowledge. However, scientifically, we still cannot explain where our concept of immortality comes from.
“I study these things for a living but even find myself defaulting to them. I know that my mind is a product of my brain but I still like to think of myself as something independent of my body,” (Natalie Emmons; study leader)