The Fate of Early Memories: Developmental Science and the Retention of Childhood Experiences
Does infantile amnesia exist? Can children accurately recall traumatic events? Do memory's organizing, storage, and retrieval mechanisms change during childhood development?
Through a thorough examination of recent scientific evidence, The Fate of Early Memories divorces fact from fiction regarding the nature, durability, and fallibility of memory. Beginning with a tour of the strengths and frailties of infant memory and the landmark achievements that lead to more mature functioning in early childhood, the book traces the emergence of autobiographical memory, the onset of a "cognitive self," and the impact of both routine and unusual events on the durability of specific memories.
The author considers the neurobiology of stress, the complex role of stress in storing and retrieving memories of traumatic and non-traumatic experiences, and the individual differences that moderate the impact of stress on memory. What emerges is a dynamic, self-organizing, and unitary memory system, governed by a common set of laws across infancy, childhood, and adulthood, that is best suited to retain the gist of our experiences. Encompassing both historical breadth and cutting-edge research, this book is required reading for researchers and professionals interested in childhood memory, from psychologists to attorneys to educators.