Your child 5-11 years

What is childhood amnesia?

What is childhood amnesia?


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First steps, first day of school ... Difficult, if not impossible, for an adult to remember an event that occurred before the age of 3 years. According to American researchers this "childhood amnesia" would occur around 7 years.

How old is your first memory? You may think, concentrate, impossible as an adult to remember an event that occurred in your early childhood, before the age of 3 years. How is it possible ? American researchers at Emory University have tried to understand the functioning and role of this "childhood amnesia".

Childhood amnesia occurs at 7 years

  • To conduct his research, the University's study group followed 83 3-year-olds for several years. At the beginning of the study, at age 3, each child had to evoke six strong memories dating back less than six months: a visit to the zoo, a birthday, the first day of school ... The children were then divided into different groups, then interviewed at 5,6,7,8 or 9 years old. The purpose of the study: to understand until what age these first memories remain in memory.
  • Result : if children aged 5 to 7 years remember 63 to 72% of what they experienced before their 3 years (the visit to the zoo, the first day of school ...), those interviewed at 8 and 9 years only remember 35% of these events.

Forgetting, to remember better

  • According to the researchersit is at 7 years old that our first childhood memories fade away. This gradual erasure, a kind of cleansing of our brain, allows the setting up of the autobiographical memory, more complex and solid which strengthens our sense of identity and continuity. Forgetting a little, to remember more, that's the challenge.

Stéphanie Letellier



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