The explanation of a mystery that has always amazed us ... For everyone, memories of early childhood are often rare. A Canadian study seems to explain how the brain erases information from childhood.
When we talk about our own childhood, it is rare to remember what we did at 11 months, 3 years or sometimes 6 years. Why is it so difficult, if not impossible, to remember his first birthday, his first Christmas, his first steps? The question of childhood amnesia, ie the absence of memory before 6 years, has fascinated the scientific community for years. A Canadian study offers an answer to this question that everyone is asking. It is neurogenesis, ie the process of creation of neurons, which would be responsible for it. Canadian researchers have tried to find the mechanism for this disappearance of childhood memories. The experiment was done on two types of mice, adult mice and mice about 17 days old, which is equivalent to one year in a baby.
To create memories in these small rodents, they are placed in a metal cage that sends them, at regular intervals, small electric shocks. The next day, they move into an identical cage but without electric shock. As soon as it enters, the adult mice wriggle instantly while the young people do not remember any electric shocks. The researchers resumed the experiment a month later, with exactly the same result. As if, developing, the brain erased memories. The researchers then slowed down the fabrication of neurons in young mice, and discovered that their memory was actually increased. Thus, infantile amnesia is thought to be due to these new neurons which would gradually erase the first memories to make room for new neurons, and consequently later for new memories.
This discovery is surprising because most people think that new neurons involve better memory.
A rational explanation
The practical interest of this discovery is to give a biological explanation to a phenomenon that for example Sigmund Freud, who was one of the first to be interested in this phenomenon, attributed not to biology but to the psyche. For him, the adult would be unable to remember his early childhood because he would have put in place a psychological mechanism: the repression. It would allow adults to suppress the emergence of memories related to infantile sexuality.
Another theory puts forward the hypothesis that forgetting the memories of early childhood is due to the learning of language. The child would start keeping memories in memory when he might be able to tell his memories.
With this study we have a new track to please fans of rational!