Do you find it difficult to remember certain moments from your childhood? The truth is that, according to science, so-called childhood amnesia is a completely normal phenomenon. Although humans tend to exaggerate memories of this stage, a study carried out by Canadian scientists has corroborated that, although while we are small we can remember experiences prior to 18 months of life, these memories are so ephemeral that once we are The six years will have already vanished from our minds.
The newspaper archive is full of research on childhood memory. Some experts hypothesized that, before the age of four, children's cognitive and language abilities have not matured enough to store memories. However, the study led by psychologist Carole Peterson seems to have found an explanation.
Dr. Peterson, a professor at Memorial University of Newfoundland, gathered a sample of 140 children between the ages of 4 and 13 for her research. The researchers asked each of them to list three passages from their earliest childhood that they could remember and place them in time. The younger children had more memories of their early years, events that the researchers were even able to contrast in interviews with their parents.
After two years, the researchers repeated the experiment with the same children. The results revealed that, while the experiences reported by children between 10 and 13 years old had barely changed, the memories of the youngest children were very different from those they had spoken about in the first meeting. In fact, the scientists gave them the keys to the memories they had described, events that children between 4 and 7 years old did not remember having experienced.
The memories of young children are fragile and vulnerable, which is why most memories are erased and replaced by experiences that occurred at later ages. Furthermore, memory capacity becomes more consistent as children grow older. This concludes that young children do have the cognitive, linguistic and memory abilities to remember past experiences, but perhaps not trained enough for these memories to last over time.
According to the director of the study, memories about our early childhood usually stabilize after the age of 10 and, before reaching that age, we inevitably forget all or almost all the things that happened to us. Peterson even speaks of a 'psychological childhood' that begins much later than our real childhood.