If you were to dive deep into your memories, you’d probably be able to recollect moments from when you were a child. But why can’t you bring to mind anything about the day that you were born, or what it was like to try and blow out that candle on your first birthday cake?
The earliest memories most people have are from the ages between three and seven. This phenomenon, which was first theorized over a century ago by famed psychologist Sigmund Freud, is called childhood amnesia.
While it is still not yet fully understood why childhood amnesia occurs, many scientists believe that as babies people do not have episodic memory. Episodic memory is memory related to specific details of an event. Early on in life, our brain is not capable of grouping information together into intricate neural patterns we call memories.
Instead, as toddlers we can only rely on semantic memory until our brain is able to tie together various pieces of information.
In the video above, you’ll learn about how different a baby’s brain is from that of an adult, and why we can’t seem to remember anything from that time in our lives no matter how hard we try.