Essentials of Human Memory

By Alan D. Baddeley | Go to book overview

12

Memory in childhood

What is your earliest memory? What else can you remember from that period? Perhaps you remember only a single isolated incident. Few people remember very much of what occurred before the age of 2 or 3. Systematic studies of autobiographical memory suggest a paucity of memories before the age of about 5 years, a phenomenon known as infantile amnesia.

Although infantile amnesia has been known about for many years, it is not easy to investigate. One problem is identifying events that are of importance to a child, events that can be precisely dated and verified by a third party. The birth of a brother or sister falls into this category, and has been investigated in a number of studies. In one experiment college students and children aged 4,6,8 and 12 were asked to recall the birth of a brother or sister when they were between 3 and 11 years old. They were asked questions such as “Who took care of you while your mother was in hospital?”, “Did the baby receive presents?”, “Did you receive presents?” and so on. The mothers were asked the same questions. The study, illustrated in Fig. 12.1, found surprisingly

FIG. 12.1. When college students were asked to recall the birth of a sibling, they remembered virtually nothing if the event had occurred before they were three years old, an example of the phenomenon known as 'infantile amnesia'. (Sheingold & Tenney, 1982)

12. MEMORY IN CHILDHOOD

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Essentials of Human Memory
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Preface ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - What is Memory? 1
  • Suggested Further Reading 20
  • 2 - Short-Term Memory 21
  • Suggested Further Reading 43
  • 3 - Working Memory 45
  • 4 - Learning 71
  • 5 - Organising and Remembering 95
  • Suggested Further Reading 107
  • 6 - Forgetting 109
  • Suggested Further Reading 129
  • 7 - Repression 131
  • 8 - Storing Knowledge 145
  • Suggested Further Reading 167
  • 9 - Retrieval 169
  • 10 - Eyewitness Testimony 199
  • Suggested Further Reading 218
  • 11 - Amnesia 219
  • 12 - Memory in Childhood 237
  • 13 - Memory and Ageing 251
  • 14 - Improving Your Memory 275
  • Suggested Further Reading 301
  • 15 - What's Next in the Study of Memory? 303
  • Suggested Further Reading 326
  • References 327
  • Author Index 345
  • Subject Index 351
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