Your Earliest Memories Might Never Have Actually Happened

BY MICHELLE STARR
In one of the largest studies of its kind, scientists have made a fascinating discovery. Nearly 40 percent of people have a first memory that is entirely fictional.

It’s not that their memories are muddled and out of sequence – but that they never happened at all.

And therein lies the problem.

Most people don’t have any verbally accessible memories before the age of about 3 or 3.5 years of age. Our brains seem to be simply incapable of retaining that information.

We all know that memory is unreliable – it’s why witness testimony of a crime can be such a dicey thing. But the researchers wanted to know why so many people were claiming to have long-term memories from a time before they could have formed.

Part of the survey was asking the respondents to describe the memory. The team analysed the language used by the participants, the content of the memory, the nature of the memory described – and the age of the person reporting it.

They found that the older a person was, the more likely they were to report an implausibly early first memory.

Source: Your Earliest Memories Might Never Have Actually Happened

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