Archive for April 10th, 2014

April 10, 2014

Childhood Amnesia

childhood memories by william haefeli

Childhood amnesia, also called infantile amnesia, is the inability of adults to retrieve episodic memories before the age of 2–4 years, as well as the period before age 10 of which adults retain fewer memories than might otherwise be expected given the passage of time. For the first 1–2 years of life, brain structures such as the limbic system, which holds the hippocampus and the amygdala and is involved in memory storage, are not yet fully developed. Research has demonstrated that children can remember events from before the age of 3–4 years, but that these memories decline as children get older.

Psychologists differ in defining the offset of childhood amnesia. Some define it as the age from which a first memory can be retrieved, others the age at which memories change from general memories to more specific autobiographical events. It is generally agreed there is no set age that people should be able to remember events from. The nature of the childhood event and how the person retrieves a memory can influence what can be recalled. The amount of early childhood memories a person can recall also depends on how old they are when they are asked to remember.

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