Send to

Choose Destination
J Exp Psychol Gen. 2001 Dec;130(4):726-45.

The dawning of a past: the emergence of long-term explicit memory in infancy.

Author information

Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota, USA.


The ability to recall information about the past is thought to emerge in the 2nd half of the 1st year of life. Although there is evidence from both cognitive neuroscience and behavioral psychology to support this hypothesis, there is little longitudinal evidence with which the question can be addressed. Infants' memory abilities were tested between the ages of 9 and 16 months using elicited and deferred imitation. Infants' memory for events was tested after delays ranging from 1 to 6 months. The results suggest that at 9 months of age, infants are able to store and retrieve representations over delays of as many as 4 weeks but not over long delays. In contrast, 10-month-olds have at their disposal a system that allows encoding and retrieval of event representations over delays of up to 6 months. These results support the idea that the system that underlies long-term ordered recall emerges near the end of the 1st year of life.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Psychological Association
Loading ...
Support Center