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Your Earliest Childhood Memory is Probably Fake

What is your earliest memory? In a study of more than 6,000 people, the average age of a first memory was 3.24 years, but 40% reported memories from age two or earlier. Some even recall being an infant. Is that even possible?   

Researchers who have investigated memory development suggest that the neurological processes needed to form autobiographical memories are not fully developed until between the ages of three and four years. Other research has suggested that memories are linked to language development. Language allows children to share and discuss the past with others, enabling memories to be organised in a personal autobiography.

So how can I remember being a baby? And why did 2,487 people from our study remember events that they dated from the age of two years and younger?

Read about the study and possible explanations for people who remember infancy at Quartz.

(Image credit: Martin Falbisoner)


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Funny that my first memory is of my brother who is 4 years younger, showing up in a crib in MY bedroom. We shared a bedroom for the years following until I left home for college.
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There is a lot of research into how fickle and bad memory can be in different situations, including many where people are really confident in their memories.
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Let me see if I understand their premise. Their theory does not allow for early childhood memories so therefore they cannot really exist.

When facts disagree with theory, cognitive dissonance analysis says that there are four ways to respond. This is the simplest and the worst.
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