How far back are your first memories? You may have been younger than you think

  

Category:  Health, Science & Technology

Via:  buzz-of-the-orient  •  6 months ago  •  39 comments

By:    Tom Yun, Canada Television News

How far back are your first memories? You may have been younger than you think
"Overall, people may have a lot more memories from their preschool years than is widely believed, and be able to recall events from earlier in their lives than has been historically documented,"

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



How far back are your first memories? You may have been younger than you think

800

A new study from a Newfoundland researcher suggests that our earliest memories could be from as far back as 2.5 years of age. (Pexels)

TORONTO --  A new study  from a Newfoundland researcher suggests that our earliest memories could be from as far back as 2.5 years of age.

Dr. Carole Peterson, a psychology professor at Memorial University's Faculty of Science, reviewed decades of data from interviews conducted at her laboratory over the last two decades. She published her findings in in the journal Memory last month.

"Overall, people may have a lot more memories from their preschool years than is widely believed, and be able to recall events from earlier in their lives than has been historically documented," she writes in the study.

She found that the average age of the earliest memory is around 2.5 years old, challenging the previous notion that our earliest memories start at age 3.5.

Part of the issue is that many people tend to be poor at identifying the dates of their earliest memories.

"Over and over again we find people think they were older than they actually were in their early memories,” she said in a news release.

In previous studies, Peterson and her colleagues interviewed children and young adults about their earliest memories and compared their answers with interviews with their parents. As the children aged and years had passed, the researchers found that the children would give a later age were when discussing memories, often from before they were four years old.

“That was the most compelling evidence,” Peterson said. “The children, as they age, keep moving how old they thought they were at the time of those early memories.”

Errors in dating memories is a phenomenon that Peterson calls "telescoping," where individuals think a memory was closer than it really was.

"The more remote a memory is, the telescoping effect makes you see it as closer. It turns out they move their earliest memory forward a year to about three-and-a half-years of age," said Peterson. "But we found that when the child or adult is remembering events from age four and up, this doesn’t happen.”

Another challenge is that what people identify as their earliest memory at any given point in time is highly malleable. Participants who participated in multiple interviews were often found to provide different answers to what their earliest memory.

Other factors that could shape what a participant recalls as their "earliest memory" on a given day include their tasks they did that day before the interview as well as whether the participant was given an oral interview or asked to complete a written questionnaire.

Peterson says that people often need a prompt or a reminder to recall what their earliest memory is.

"It’s very easy to get people to remember earlier memories simply by asking them what their earliest memory is, and then asking them for a few more," she said. "Then they start recalling even earlier memories — sometimes up to a full year earlier. It’s like priming a pump; once you get them started, it’s self-prompting.


Tags

jrDiscussion - desc
[]
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient    6 months ago

What is the earliest memory that you can describe?  Mine does go back to when I was around 2 1/2 years old.  There was a big maple tree in front of our home.  Here is a picture of our home and the tree as it was then.

800

When I was around 2 or 2 1/2, in order that my mother did not have to keep a close eye on me, I wore a harness, and my mother tied a rope  to it and to the tree as a leash so I wouldn't wander out into the road.  I still remember seeing myself in that harness, tied with a rope to that tree.  I can remember many things from when I was 4 years old, but I would be curious about what others can remember about the time they were around 2, if they can.

What was YOUR earliest memory?

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
1.1  JBB  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1    6 months ago

I remember the day I learned to walk at < 1 year...

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
1.1.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  JBB @1.1    6 months ago

Now THAT's exceptional. 

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
1.1.2  JBB  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @1.1.1    6 months ago

Mom was still in college so I spent the day with my nanny. All day I practiced going farther and farther between pieces of furniture while Nanny let me hold onto a finger until I was confident enough to let go. Finally when Mom got home that evening I was able to walk all the way across the living room. A celebration then ensued. I was showing off by the time Daddy got home.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
1.1.3  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  JBB @1.1.2    6 months ago

I picture what you said in my mind...every family must feel such joy at such an event. 

 
 
 
Gsquared
Junior Principal
2  Gsquared    6 months ago

I remember quite a bit from the age of about 2 - 2.5, maybe a bit younger-- the apartment we lived in, visiting the neighbors, the day my brother was born and several other things.  

 
 
 
Snuffy
Junior Quiet
3  Snuffy    6 months ago

My strongest memories from an early age  (2ish) revolve around food.  Wow,  who could have expected that?  

I can remember sitting out on the front porch with my sister, mom & dad during thunder storms. They would feed us ice cream and play with us, all to get us to learn that thunderstorms are nothing to be afraid of.  In reality now, I realize that this was just them not wanting to be woken up in the middle of the night by terrified children.  But it's a good memory of ice cream and listening to the Angels bowling.

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
4  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)    6 months ago

For reference, I was born January 14, 1979.

The SE Michigan Derecho on July 16, 1980 is my oldest memory I think. That would put me at a year and a half old.

256

It looked like it was going to storm and my dad and I always loved watching storms roll in, so we were standing at our gate, next to our side door to our house. He had me in his arms. In front of us, it was pretty clear skies... for a moment anyways. We heard the tornado sirens as the sky turned pea soup green. I turned my head to my left [behind us] toward the steel mill where my grandfather worked and saw a funnel begin to form. My mother was screaming at us to get in the f*cking house. There was a cable guy there to install our newly acquired cable TV and my mom and the cable guy were in the basement. My mom was screaming from the bottom of the basement stairs and I could see her through the screen door. My dad turned around to see the funnel forming, and it was probably on the Canadian side or over the Detroit River, but definitely close enough to make my dad nervous. My dad opened the kitchen and dining room windows just a little [about an inch or two] because he was worried about the pressure differentiation [of course I didn't know that's why he was doing that at the time]. We made our way down to the basement and my mom was yelling at my dad about us being outside. It seemed like it was longer than I'm sure it was, but that was my earliest memory I think.

I actually remember a lot of things that my parents can't believe that I remember... prior to age of 3 for sure. The greenhouse attached to my great aunt's house that was accessible from inside the home... She died when I was 12, but probably hadn't been to her house since the age of 3 or 4. She was NOT fond of children at all; she had none of her own.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
4.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka) @4    6 months ago

I can understand why something like that would be etched deep into your memory.  I saw only one tornado in my life, and I sure do remember that the sky was green. 

 
 
 
MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)
Sophomore Principal
4.1.1  MsAubrey (aka Ahyoka)  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @4.1    6 months ago

This was more unique than a "standard" tornado though. If you're curious to read more about derechos, please check out the link I used above. It's specific to that 1980 SW MI Derecho, but it gives a lot of facts about them in general too.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
5  JohnRussell    6 months ago

My earliest memory is pulling on my moms apron and trying to see the kitchen table top as she was making chocolate pudding. I think I was probably three. 

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
5.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  JohnRussell @5    6 months ago

If you couldn't see the table top, how did you know she was making chocolate pudding?  Was it the smell?

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Principal
6  Raven Wing    6 months ago

My earliest memory was when I was 2 y/o. The house we lived in at the time had all hardwood floors and my mother kept them well polished. I was in the kitchen when I heard my Father say he was leaving for work. It was summer and all I had on was a pair of panties. I wanted to say good-bye to my Father before he left and I ran toward to front door. But, half-way there I did a loud belly flop on the floor and it hurt really, really bad. I started to cry as my Mother came and picked me up, and my belly, chest and thighs were bright red and blistering. My Mother tried to soothe me, but, my tears were not from the fall as much as they were that I did not get to see my Father before he left.

When I was 3 y/o we were in a huge flood. The levee along the Trinity River in Ft. Worth TX broke during a heavy rain storm and flooded the area where we lived. The water came so fast that it was waist deep on my Mother who was carrying me, and getting deeper. We managed to get to what had been a barracks during the war and had been turned into an apartment building. Within a short time the water began to flood the bottom floor and we had to move to the second floor. Then we were loaded into a boat and taken to an area were we could wait for a bus to take us to a rescue shelter. I cried because we had to abandon my kitty. But after a few days when the flood waters receded and we were able to go back to our house to retrieve what belongings we could. And one of the area maintenance people said they had rescued my kitty and she had a happy home with his kids. So I was happy to know she was alive and happy. I had just gotten my ears pierced the day before the flood, and in my little mind that was the cause of our bad luck for some time.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
6.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Raven Wing @6    6 months ago

Did he not offer to return the kitty to you?  I'll bet he did but knowing a bit about you, I'd bet that knowing that the kitty was making his kids happy you told him to keep it. 

 
 
 
shona1
Sophomore Participates
6.1.1  shona1  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @6.1    6 months ago

Morning buzz. I was thinking the same thing...

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Principal
6.1.2  Raven Wing  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @6.1    6 months ago
I'd bet that knowing that the kitty was making his kids happy you told him to keep it. 

You do know me very well, Buzz. Being as we didn't have a home at that time, and having to get our clothing from the Salvation Army, as all we had on when we left the house that night was our bed clothes, and had no way to care for a kitty, and knowing she was safe and happy with his family, I was happy to let her stay with her new family.

 
 
 
shona1
Sophomore Participates
6.1.3  shona1  replied to  Raven Wing @6.1.2    6 months ago

Anoon Raven...still very heart breaking though, but so very kind hearted and generous of you..not sure if I could have done that but you saw it was the best thing to do. Hope the kitty had a very long and happy life, thanks to you..

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
6.1.4  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  shona1 @6.1.3    6 months ago

Obviously Raven's love of cats and kittens has been a lifelong venture - for a long time she has been custodian of the Cat Adorers group.

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Principal
6.1.5  Raven Wing  replied to  shona1 @6.1.3    6 months ago

Thanks shona. I was barely 3 y/o, no home, unknown future, only our bed clothes on our backs and my Father with only a pair of jeans and no shirt or shoes, my Mother, my Brother and I had no shoes, and we had nothing to offer the sweet kitty, who had suffered through the nightmare of being chased up into the top of the closet by the raising waters and without food for two days. She had suffered a trauma as well and needed some love and compassion as well. I loved her much too much to take her from the loving family she had found when we had no way to take care of our selves. I still think of her and I still love her. And I am so very happy that she had a good home and love to live out the rest of her life. I could not ask for more for her.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
6.2  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Raven Wing @6    6 months ago

Thinking that your getting your ears pierced was a cause of your family's bad luck just gave me an idea for another article. 

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Principal
6.2.1  Raven Wing  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @6.2    6 months ago

Ah..well...glad I could help, Buzz. (grin)

Be sure to let me know when you post it.  jrSmiley_79_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
shona1
Sophomore Participates
8  shona1    6 months ago

One of my earliest memories is my mum beheading an extremely poisonous  6 foot black snake in our backyard. We lived in the Mallee then a dry wheat growing area. I was about 2 years old...

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
8.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  shona1 @8    6 months ago

I'd be curious to know if watchng such a thing might have had a lifetime effect on you.

 
 
 
shona1
Sophomore Participates
8.1.1  shona1  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @8.1    6 months ago

Not that I am aware of..most Aussies have a very healthy respect for our snakes etc...it is sort of drummed into us from a young age.

Now I have always looked at it, if they are in the bush you leave them alone. But if they are in my backyard, they are fair game.

 
 
 
Freefaller
PhD Participates
9  Freefaller    6 months ago

Lol my earliest memory is about 5 minutes ag  SQUIRREL!! 

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
9.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Freefaller @9    6 months ago

???

 
 
 
charger 383
Professor Quiet
10  charger 383    6 months ago

I love trains, I remember at 3-4 years old seeing steam Locomotives operating in Roanoke, VA.  Earlier than that I can remember my grandfather's mules and my great uncle's farm  

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Principal
10.1  Raven Wing  replied to  charger 383 @10    6 months ago

I learned to ride horses when I was 3 y/o. I guess I was born to ride, as I have been riding ever since. We had 5 horses as I was growing up, and I loved working in a riding stable after school and on weekends, and on Saturday after noon I got to ride free until closing. The grooming my horse for the night. I still ride today. Not as often as I used to, but, enough to keep me happy.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
10.1.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Raven Wing @10.1    6 months ago

I've been on a horse only twice in my life.  The first time when I was a little kid posing for the obligatory 'kid on a pony' photo, and the second time when I was much older at a riding academy.  I got on a horse, didn't know what to do, and the horse bolted for the barn through a door that if I didn't hug the horse's neck I would have lost my head.  "Never again" has more than one meaning for me.

 
 
 
Raven Wing
Professor Principal
10.1.2  Raven Wing  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @10.1.1    6 months ago

Sorry to hear that your horse riding events turned out so bad. Once when I visited my Maternal Grandparents for two weeks in the summer, when I was 4 y/o, my younger Cousin wanted to go the Wyandotte Park in Kanas City KS, and she demanded to ride a pony there. She was an only child of older parents and she was very spoiled. So when she demanded something nothing would do but it had to be done. For me, riding a pony that goes around in circles was not much fun, but, I went along for the ride. Well, the spoiled little thing would not let them harness her in the saddle so she would not fall off the pony, saying she knew how to ride. As the ponies started to trot around and around, the spoiled one began to shift from one side to the other, nearly falling off the pony. I got to laughing so hard and bouncing up and down that I was the one who fell off their horse. The pony stood still while I got back on and continued the allotted rounds. My Grandmother scolded me for laughing at the spoiled one, but, I still laughed every time I thought of her bouncing all around on the horse and barely able to stay on.

Thant was the last time I rode a pony. They are too stiff legged for comfort.

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
10.2  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  charger 383 @10    6 months ago

When I was a kid I spent my summers at my grandmother's cottage at Burlington (Hamilton) Beach (a strip of land at the far western end of Lake Ontario that divided Lake Ontario from Burlington (Hamilton) Bay where Hamilton, Ontario, had its coast).  Along that narrow strip of land was the TH&B (Toronto Hamilton and Buffalo) Railway line.  I still remember so well the lonely sound of the old train steam whistles moanng through the night.  We used to put pennies on the tracks to get them flattened.  Great memories about trains. 

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
11  seeder  Buzz of the Orient    6 months ago

I should have posted this link with the article: 

R37063eec581a9a68a45544d8bfdbe3b7?rik=cuZdOrHJkmUH%2bg&riu=http%3a%2f%2fwww.pointsincase.com%2fwp-content%2fuploads%2f2016%2f11%2fcats-broadway-woman-1024x576.jpg&ehk=y3dlQw%2bBALMzwpwEUSizRdDnlNHbbIWBfRLVt%2fA4sss%3d&risl=&pid=ImgRaw .

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
12  Perrie Halpern R.A.    6 months ago

My earliest memory was teething pain when my mom said I was about 1.5 years. 

 
 
 
Buzz of the Orient
Professor Principal
12.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @12    6 months ago

Yeah but there's a good end to that story - the coins left under your pillow when you lost those teeth.

 
 
Loading...
Loading...

Who is online




27 visitors