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Reason for Absence of Memories in Early Childhood Discovered

Antonia R.Antonia R.

A team of Canadian scientists has figured out why people don't have any memories of their earliest childhood. The reason is that during this period, the brain develops incredibly quickly, thus erasing all memories.

Katherine Akers, who was the head of the Canadian study, announced that people's brains develop with a rapid tempo during infancy, which erases old memories and replaces them with new ones.

The study is published in the British Daily Telegraph and the final conclusion from it shows that most people can only create memories after the age of 3.

Most adults lack or have very little memories before their third birthday.

The condition is described as childhood amnesia and is characteristic of other species as well, not just in humans. According to the researchers, this condition can be called neurogenesis, since according to them, the neurons play a key role in this process.

In experiments, scientists have used tiny electric shocks to teach a group of lab mice to be afraid of a certain environment. Then they put them in running wheels because running stimulates the generation of new neurons.


After returning the mice to the environment which they were supposed to be afraid of, scientists discovered that those mice that ran for a long time had forgotten about their fears, while the others remembered the electric shocks quite well.

In the second part of the experiments, the scientists used medications to slow the generation of neurons and found out that in this way, the memories were retained longer.

Another popular theory about our lack of memories claims that the hypothalamus begins to link the fragments of information accumulated up until the point between about the age of 2 to 4 years and that is why we don't remember anything up until 3 years of age.

Nora Newcombe from Temple University in Philadelphia postulates that this lack of memories is due to the fact that in its first few years, the child is still getting to know the world around it.

According to Freud's theory, childhood amnesia exists because of suppressed trauma after birth.