Why it is Hard To Recall Stuff That Happened Before The Age of 4 To Us
They say that in our youth, our personalities are formed, but how ironic is it that we can hardly recall anything from our early years? This condition can be generalized to almost all individuals and even has an official term: amnesia in childhood. We forget the people, activities, and even places we have met as children, as we grow up.
A lot of active research on this subject is still underway, but we have summarized the most relevant information below.
What the amnesia of children is and when it happens.
The inability of adults to remember the details of events or even complete events that occurred to them before the age of 4 is childhood amnesia. some researchers went even further and found that ” 60 percent of or more of their early-life-events ” can be remembered by children before the age of 7, while 8 and 9 -year-olds could only reach 40 per cent. This allowed them to realize the less we recall from what preceded it, as we go through various stages of our development.
Our memories are tightly associated with our ability to communicate.
One of the hypotheses as to why our infant memories are not preserved is that at the time we could not interact verbally. We use words when we retrieve a memory, and we can explain it in a lot of detail, needing vocabulary. Before the age of 2, most babies do not start communicating, so they are actually unable to build a coherent memory.
A major role is played by our brain growth.
We will now talk about the biological explanation of amnesia in childhood. Our brains do a lot of heavy-lifting when we grow up, so one study concluded that when brains are busy growing lots of new cells, they do not store memories that would otherwise be long-term. Additionally, before age of 3-4, we can not even physically remember day-to-day activities, because our episodic memory has not yet kicked in.
That’s why we may have abstract memories, like the park you always went to, but not the ice cream shop your mom once took you to.
Our parents are seriously altering how we remember those events.
Another research indicates that our parents are able to alter the story of our childhood. Think about it if we are reminded of it, we prefer to hold on to memory better, because recall the events considered significant by our parents. This very same research showed that after discussing it with their families children remember the same occurrence differently, as compared to their mothers. Kids are impressionable, so helping them maintain and better perceive only positive memories is important.
All this boils down to what has left us with a lasting impression.
A child psychologist says that, ultimately, children retain both positive and negative memories that are filled with emotion. This finding even allows young children to testify in court as eyewitnesses. So if you can remember an early memory, chances are it is the one that holds the most meaning for you and triggers a strong emotional response.
So, tell us, what is the earliest childhood memory you have of yourself? Can you remember the age at which your memory became most powerful?