What's Your Earliest Childhood Memory?

Share your recollections and your story could appear in Scientific American MIND

Credit: chad magiera/Flickr

Think back to your first memory. Can you remember your age? Or how you felt? The further back in your recollection you reach, the murkier memories become.

There's a reason these earlier episodes are elusive. This phenomenon, called "childhood amnesia," may kick in around age eight, according to psychologists from Emory University. The researchers asked parents to chat with their three-year-old children about recent life events such as visiting the zoo or going to a birthday party. Years later the kids were prompted to recall these same early experiences. The researchers found that the kids who were now six or seven remembered up to 72 percent of the memories collected at age three, but eight- and nine-year-olds could dredge up only half that.

This memory loss may actually be a byproduct of making new memories. In May, a team of neuroscientists at the Hospital for Sick Children in Canada found that the creation of new neurons in the brain's memory systems--which appears to help us learn new concepts--may disrupt older connections.

Yet clearly some childhood remembrances persist, and we want to know what they are. Share a couple of sentences on one of your oldest recollections in the box below and a related photo, if you have one. Your story could be selected to appear in the print edition of Scientific American Mind or featured on the Web.

Please note that you must own the rights to any photos you submit. To be considered for inclusion in the print edition of Scientific American Mind, please submit your stories by June 30, 2014.


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