The mystery of Childhood Amnesia

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I really do not know how ‘Abhimanyu’ in ‘Mahabharat’ was capable of remembering the technique of entering the ‘Chakravyuh’ which was heard by him while being in his mother’s womb. I can’t even seem to remember what I did while being 3 years old. Am I the odd one out? Well, not really. 

‘Amnesia’. Most of us are aware of this word, this problem; where the sufferer tends to not recognize or familiarize the things & people around him. A state that we commonly see in the elder age group. But what is Childhood Amnesia? And who has it? Before I answer the ‘what’ in the question, let me answer the ‘who’ part. WE ALL EXPERIENCE CHILDHOOD AMNESIA. Shocked? 

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Childhood Amnesia, the phenomenon that humans forget their early years of childhood, has been a mystery for the world & the scientists for years. While memories of most of the experiences come and go in our mind, there is a period of our life that we as adults fail to recall much about, if anything at all. While there have been several researches over the topic for years, a theory that came out prominently was the underdeveloped hippocampus. Hippocampus is a part of the brain that is said to be responsible for our memory. While at the early age of our life hippocampus isn’t fully developed (which usually happens by the age of 4) we hence do not remember being a baby. With age, the memory of the child is said to get stabilized to be able to recall life experiences which are usually referred to as episodic memories.  

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While this theory was accepted and agreed by many, it also faced a lot of contradiction. While some Neuro-Physiological experts suggested the memory of the child to be equally sharp, he blames the non-communication (verbal) ability of the child to be responsible for his non/ less expression. There have been suggestions for a baby to have a memory that fades away quickly. An experience of the child is much more than his memories, an example of which can be his home or a park he visits. He might not remember the way to his house or the park, yet a toddler can recognize his home or can run in the correct direction, in a park, towards the swings. Hence, the hippocampus theory has been challenged every now and then by the experts. It then makes us believe that young children have other forms of memory that obviously doesn’t involve hippocampus. A memory that helps them learn new skills and remember them for life. But what that other form of memory could be? The answer remains a mystery just like other mysteries of the human body.