Childhood amnesia and the mystery of memory: why don’t we keep memories of the first years of life? – Newtral

Childhood amnesia is known as the absence or scarcity of memories that an adult person keeps from their first years of life, generally up to 3 or 4 years of age. Remembering episodes from before those years is very unlikely, as the University of London recently recalled in an article signed by experts from different universities. Science has studied this phenomenon for years, and it still remains, in part, a mystery. Childhood amnesia, which is not amnesia as such but a way of calling this phenomenon, cannot be explained by the fact that memories are not generated as children. Moreover, it is known that memory exists as a brain function from birth, as José R. Alonso, neurobiologist and Professor at the University of Salamanca, explains on his website. “It has been seen that newborn babies distinguish the voices of their parents , the ones they heard from inside the womb, after they were born. And it has been seen that they respond to a book that was read to them when they were gestating with more intensity than to a book that is presented to them after birth, ”explains José R. Alonso in his writing. Learning from weeds to adapt crops to drought That is, at some point in growth, people lose access to their earliest memories. Childhood amnesia is a recurring theme for science, and has been studied for hundreds of years. Moreover, there is research on this matter until the end of the 19th century. During the early years, childhood amnesia was thought to be due to the fact that young children’s brains simply could not form lasting memories. However, as Patricia Bauer, professor of psychology at Emory University in public radio in the United States explains, in a study in 1980 they discovered that “even from the second year of life, children had very strong memories of events specific to the past. The factors that caused the great hail of Girona Fictional memories One of the aspects that alters the study of this circumstance is the fine line between real memories and totally or partially fictitious ones. The University of London itself conducted a study with more than 6,000 people and asked them about their first autobiographical memory: how old they were and what they remembered. On average, most people said their earliest memory is from when they were over 3 years old. However, 40% said they had memories when they were younger. The study concluded that these were most likely fictitious memories. Instead of remembering an experienced event, we remember images derived from photographs, home movies, shared family stories, or events and activities that occur frequently in childhood. The researchers themselves go further and point out that contemporary theories of memory show that all memories have some degree of fiction. “In fact, this is a sign of a healthy memory,” they insist. The possible reasons for childhood amnesia This issue remains, in part, a mystery to science, because several hypotheses seek to answer it. In this sense, scientific research suggests several aspects that would explain why this phenomenon occurs. The first suggests that the neurological processes necessary to form autobiographical memories do not fully develop until three or four years of age, according to this study from the University of London. But the focus is also on the hippocampus, key to encoding memories. . This is revealed by another study by the ‘Center for Neural Science’ of the University of New York. But it also has to do with language, which also develops late. Thanks to vocabulary, you can create stories of what has happened in the past and thus better consolidate memories. Sources University of London Patricia Bauer, professor of psychology at Emory University José R. Alonso, neurobiologist and Professor at the University of Salamanca Center for Neural Science, New York University