Can early childhood experiences be recalled?

Sydney, Jan 1 (IANS) Can adults recall events they experienced before they were three or four years old – a phenomenon called childhood amnesia. A new study has found that events experienced by children as young as two can be recalled after long delays.

‘Our results are consistent with theories that suggest that basic capacity for remembering our own experiences may be in place by two years of age,’ said University of Otago post-doctoral fellow Fiona Jack, who led the study.

To determine at what age our earliest memories occur, the researchers looked at about 50 children and their parents. The children played a unique game when they were two-to-four years of age, the journal Child Development reports.

Children placed a large object in a hole at the top of a machine and turned a handle on the side. When a bell rang, a small but otherwise identical object was delivered through a door at the bottom of the machine.

Six years later, the researchers interviewed the children and their parents to determine how well they remembered playing the game, according to an University of Otago statement.

Only about a fifth of the children recalled the event, including two children who were under three when they played the game. About half of the parents remembered the event. Parents and children who recalled the event provided very similar reports about the game.