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Infant Amnesia

Ever wonder why you can't remember things from your early childhood? Infant Amnesia on today's Moment of Science.

Isn't it weird that we can't remember anything from when we were toddlers? Scientists don't really understand why a forty-year old can remember stuff from twenty years ago, but a twenty-year old has virtually no recall of events that occurred twenty-years ago.

In a recent experiment involving nine month, seventeen month, and twenty-four month old babies, the babies were shown how to do a certain task. When the babies were tested four months later to see how well they remembered the task, the babies who were nine months old had virtually no recollection, while the older babies could repeat the task from memory.

Some scientists think that language ability effects memory development. But there's another possible explanation. Between nine and seventeen months, the frontal lobe and hippocampus parts of the brain begin to develop. Since these areas are associated with memory, it makes sense that long-term memory ability would increase during this period. The basic reason we can't remember anything from infancy is that we just don't have the brainpower.

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