The phenomenon of childhood amnesia, where adults have limited recollection of their early childhood experiences. It discusses research into the biological underpinnings of this occurrence, suggesting that memory loss from our earliest years is a necessary part of brain development into adulthood. The article debunks previous theories and proposes that the high rate of neurogenesis (creation of new neurons) during infancy contributes significantly to this amnesia.
- “Childhood amnesia,” the term for adults’ inability to remember their experiences from before the age of three and a half, has been a subject of scientific study for many years.
- Contrary to earlier beliefs, it’s been found that children aged three and younger can create and access memories, though these memories fade faster than adult memories.
- Infant brains experience a high rate of neurogenesis, which is the process of forming new neurons. This process, while crucial for learning, may also lead to the loss of early memories.
- Neuroscientists Paul Frankland and Sheena Josselyn conducted a study that indicates not only do childhood memories degrade, but they also become concealed due to the restructuring caused by neurogenesis.
- Despite the phenomenon of childhood amnesia, research suggests that some early memories may persist in a scrambled, refracted way, and can be retrieved using specific prompts.