Scientists Reveal Why Early Childhood Memories Fade Away

///Scientists Reveal Why Early Childhood Memories Fade Away

childhood amnesiaIt is known that most adults do not have any memories of the early years of their life. New psychological study tries to answer the question: at what age and why the memory of early childhood begins to fade and then disappears.

Scientists have found that childhood amnesia – this is how this phenomenon is called – starts at the age of about seven years. Three year old kids remember the events that happened a year earlier, which are stored in their memory till the age of 5-6 years, but from the age of seven, the past begins to blur.

By eight or nine years children keep in memory only about 35% of the events that occurred to them before the age of three. The latest research states that at this age the human brain begins to form memories differently than in early childhood.

Up to the age of seven years the events are imprinted in one’s memory without a clear perception of space and time. Older children memorize things in the same way as grown-ups do and can recall not only what happened but also where and when the event took place.

Psychology professor Patricia Bauer of Emory University (USA) and her colleagues spent several years conducting a number of studies, the results of which were recently published in the journal Memory.

The scientists studied 83 children from the age of three. When the kids first visited the research lab of the University, they talked about the six recent events in their lives: country trips, visits to the zoo, the first day of kindergarten, a birthday party…

A few years later the children were questioned again about the same things and were asked to tell the details of the events they had talked about during the first visit. The scientists found that kids from 5 to 7 years old were able to recall the details of 63-72% of all the events that occurred to them in early childhood. But since the age of 8 years the amount of recalled information slipped to 35%.

The researchers noted the difference between the details that the children were and were not able to recall. Three-year kids usually did not mention the place and time of an event, while the older children did. Moreover, the events for which it was difficult to determine where and when they occurred were completely erased from children’s memory.

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Anna LeMind

Anna is the founder and lead editor of the website She is passionate about learning new things and reflecting on thought-provoking ideas. She writes about science, psychology and other related topics. She is particularly interested in topics regarding introversion, consciousness and subconscious, perception, human mind's potential, as well as the nature of reality and the universe.

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By | 2017-01-13T21:52:53+00:00 January 12th, 2014|Categories: Psychology & Mental Health, Uncommon Science|Tags: , , |1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Sonia January 15, 2014 at 5:32 pm - Reply

    I can recall a memory of an experience when I was one year old, while in the crib, confirmed by my mother for years.
    I can also, with great detail, recall memories that involve smells and patterns from when I was two- three years old.
    Every few days, I happen to remember events of my childhood and adolescence, with no prior meditation; spur of the moment, and have been doing so for years, too. I am 35 years old.

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Scientists Reveal Why Early Childhood Memories Fade Away