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Unravelling the Nature of Early (Autobiographical) Memory

Howe, M. L. ORCID: 0000-0002-5747-5571 (2018). Unravelling the Nature of Early (Autobiographical) Memory. Memory, 27(1), pp. 115-121. doi: 10.1080/09658211.2019.1537140


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.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article to be published by Taylor & Francis on 2018, available online:
Publisher Keywords: Infantile amnesia, childhood amnesia, autobiographical memory, early memory development, forgetting
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of Howe Early Memory SI Commentary In Press.pdf]
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