Why can’t we remember early life?

Why can’t we remember early life?

It's probably for the best that we don't remember being a baby.

Asked by: Karen Evans, Leeds

Advertisement

Our inability to remember anything from before the age of three or four is referred to as infantile amnesia and it’s still fairly mysterious. We do know that infants can form long-term memories: chat to a three-year-old about past events and you’ll see for yourself. In fact, one study showed that three-year-olds had a memory of an adult they’d met just once when they were aged one. But for some reason, likely related to the immaturity of infant memory processes, our earliest memories are lost by the time we are about seven years of age.


Advertisement

Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.