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Unravelling the nature of early (autobiographical) memory

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In this article, I provide an overview of the problems associated with understanding the nature of early autobiographical memory and discuss issues concerning the forgetting of these memories (infantile/childhood amnesia). Specifically, I provide a brief exegesis as to whether such memories are stored in a fragile manner to begin with, become difficult to retrieve over time, or both. In order to answer this and other related questions, I review the contribution of the articles in this special issue to understanding the enigma that is infantile/childhood amnesia. I then outline some of the issues that remain and suggest a functional approach to understanding why the forgetting of early experiences may be more adaptive than remembering them. I conclude by suggesting that infantile amnesia may actually begin during infancy itself.
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Keywords: Infantile amnesia; autobiographical memory; childhood amnesia; early memory development; forgetting

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Psychology, City, University of London, London, UK

Publication date: January 2, 2019

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