Lost in Memory Lane: A study of Infantile Amnesia

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Many studies have been conducted revolving around the phenomenon of infantile amnesia. The term was initially coined by Sigmund Freud to define the lack of childhood memories among adults. He believed that adults experience this to repress their sexual urgings and traumas that occurred during the early years of one’s life. Yet, some of the memories that are recalled are hazy and unclear. However, recent scientific studies have discovered the reason behind infantile amnesia.
Scientists hypothesized that if adults cannot recall past memories of their childhood, they question whether or not babies are conscious when forming and storing memories. A study conducted by a neuroscientist in Paris, Sid Koider and his colleagues discovered that infants react with being aware instead of reflexes3. They conducted an experiment testing on babies who were as young as 5 months. Babies were fitted into electrode caps to measure the electrical activity of the brain. The babies were then flashed an image for a fraction of a second. The result showed that babies have a second spike in neural activity similar to adults3. The only difference is that the response of neural activity of a baby being conscious is four times slower than adults. The reason why neural activity is slower is because the brain of a baby lacks a fatty substance called myelin which sheathes the nerve fibers within the brain6. Myelin acts as an insulation which speeds up the signals from an area of a brain to another6.
Although there are many hypotheses to explain of infantile amnesia, the most likely explanation is due to the underdeveloped brain2. Two types of memories are created when forming memories. Semantic Memories are the memories that have a concept and meaning such as r...

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