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Memory. 1999 May;7(3):257-78.

Assumptions of infantile amnesia: are there differences between early and later memories?

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  • 1University of Minnesota 55455-0345, USA.

Abstract

Most adults are able to provide few, if any, reports of autobiographical memories from the first years of life. Early memories that do exist have been characterised as highly emotional, containing an abundance of perceptual as opposed to propositional information, and more often in the third than the first person perspective. These qualities figure prominently in theories of the source of the phenomenon of infantile amnesia. However, early and later memories have not been directly compared with regard to these features. In the present research, we compared early and later memories in the same individuals, with the same methodology. Results indicated few objective differences between the early and later memories of women (Experiment 1) and men (Experiment 2). The findings are discussed in light of their implications for theories as to the source of infantile amnesia.

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