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J Exp Psychol Gen. 1998 Mar;127(1):22-33.

The offset of childhood amnesia: memory for events that occurred before age 3.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Durham, United Kingdom.


Adult memory for the events surrounding the birth of a sibling was examined in 69 adults. The authors identified a steep offset for childhood amnesia for this event before the child reaches age 2 1/2 years. The authors also examined the accuracy of information recalled. Although the majority of the answers were accurate, false memories were a consistent feature of the data. Alternative explanations of the authors' data were considered by examining the amount of information an additional 57 adults had about a family birth for which they could have no memory. The pattern of results did not support the view that participants might be unable to differentiate between memories and knowledge about the event.

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