The earliest memories in children may occur at two-and-a-half years of age

Carole Peterson of the University of Newfoundland is the subject of a new journal article published in the journal Memory on childhood amnesia.

According to Peterson, the new research involved a thorough review of 10 of her past studies on childhood amnesia beginning in 1999. Close to 1,000 participants were included, with nearly 700 participants’ memories compared to the recollections of their parents.

“This article is a selective review of the literature on childhood amnesia, followed by new analyses of both published and unpublished data that has been collected in my laboratory over two decades,” Peterson wrote in their journal report.

“Analyses point to the fluidity of people’s earliest memories; furthermore, methodological variation leads to individuals recalling memories from substantially earlier in their lives.”

Based on 21 years of research data, Peterson concluded that on average the earliest memories that people can recall might be about two-and-a-half years old.

“There may also be systematic mis-dating to older ages of very early memories,” Peterson stated in the findings. “Overall, people may have a lot more memories from their preschool years than is widely believed, and be able to recall events from earlier in their lives than has been historically documented.”

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