Do you have trouble remembering younger years? You probably felt bad when some of your old friends started talking about past teachers and classmates. It’s also frustrating to feel like you should know about these things but you just can’t remember.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Most adults cannot remember anything from their youngest years, while studies found that infants can form memories.
In this article, you’ll read:
- Why adults struggle with remembering younger years
- Our habit of clinging to memories constructed by others
- Reasons why our old memories might be false
Why it is hard for adults to remember younger years?
Experts say that any memories we claim to recall before the age of 3 might be constructed by someone else. Moreover, you might be unsure of certain events in your life. We also can’t help but cling to memories that you only heard from other people you know. Here are some of the reasons why we have trouble remembering younger years:
Infantile amnesia is also known as childhood amnesia. It is the inability of adults to recall episodic memories before the age of two to four. This is very common for most of us. Who can really say that they remember the exact moment they started walking or talking? Not us, that’s for sure.
We don’t have a definite reason why we experience infantile amnesia and can’t remember anything before 2 or 3. However, there are a lot of theories that experts do to explain things about it.
Infants Can Construct Memories
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Experts previously debunked a theory that says babies can’t form memories. It is because babies learn from what they see and experience.
Infants learn to remember their mum’s face within a few hours of being born. Along with this, most parents know that their babies can recognise them when they are 2 or 3 months old.
Additionally. we know that babies usually smile at familiar faces. It shows that they recognise and remember people around them and those important in their lives.
Carolyn Rovee-Collier, a Rutgers University researcher, studies what infants usually remember. She decided to make a dun and clever task for infants younger than 6-month-old.
She placed infants on their backs in a crib with a mobile hanging overhead in doing the task. The mobiles hold several toys meant to catch the infants’ attention.
Through it, Rovee-Collier that children aged as early as two months can quickly learn things. However, the real goal of her study does not centre on what the babies learned.
Instead, she is interested in whether the babies could still remember what they learn after a day or two. Furthermore, Rovee-Collier confirmed that theory with this experiment.
“The youngest infants can only remember for a few days. However, as they get older, infants can remember for longer and longer periods.”
The study also suggests that infants can form memories. Concerning this, the inability to create memories is not what keeps us from remembering things from when we were babies.
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Autobiographical memory is a memory system consisting of episodes recollected from an individual’s life. It is based on a combination of episodic and semantic memory. You can also relate this to our struggles of remembering exact memories of our younger years.
Episodic memories includes personal experiences and specific experiences at a particular time and place. Meanwhile, semantic memories are about general knowledge and facts we learned throughout our lives
An autobiographical memory often involves a sense of time passing. It is not something infants can think about until much later in life. Aside from that, it requires a sense of self or the ability to reflect on yourself and your behaviour towards others.
Why Do We Cling to Memories Constructed by Someone Else?
Experts say that any memories we claim to remember might come from other people. We tend to cling to or believe their stories because we can’t remember them ourselves. We also feel bad for not recalling these certain events that may not have happened to you.
It could be possible that some parts of an individual’s memories are genuine. However, those stories might not be real and could be constructed from other people’s versions.
In truth, memories aren’t always exact replicas of what happened to us. They can be constructed and changed over time.
Meanwhile, research suggests that children’s childhood memories are malleable and susceptible to suggestions. Additionally, people can’t remember much from their infancies. Babies can form memories but not to the point that they can bring them up to adulthood.
When infants get older, memories don’t get filed away into the brains like video clips. Memories can fade or change. It happens especially when we share memories with others who might retell them from a different perspective.
If we want to remember some memories of our younger years, we must be prepared for different versions. We can ask our loved ones about specific moments but there’s no way of knowing exact events.
Talking about past times will somehow help you remember bits and pieces of it. It could perhaps help you also to make some new memories. Unless you have old videos of certain events, you can never really know what really happened.
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