There’s a great article in the WSJ today called Blanks for the Memories. Melinda Beck writes

Why we remember some scenes from early childhood and forget others has long intrigued scientists—as well as parents striving to create happy memories for their kids. One of the biggest mysteries: why most people can’t seem to recall anything before age 3 or 4.

She says that researchers argue that

storing and retrieving memories require language skills that don’t develop until age 3 or 4. Others believe that while children can recall fragments of scenes from early life, they can’t create autobiographical memories—the episodes that make up one’s life story—until they have a firm concept of “self,” which may take a few more years.

I can’t remember anything earlier than three myself. And I think that some of my earliest memories may have been recreated from stories and pictures. Something she touches on as well. I can’t help but wonder if it won’t be different for kids today. Everything is so well documented with photos, video and blogs that it will give them a whole treasure trove of information to re-imagine themselves and how they grew up even if their language skills develop at a similar time.



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