We May Soon Have Access To Your Oldest Memories As Infants
Our oldest memories ever since we were infants, are pretty much out of our reach. We may have some recollections from when we were toddlers, but it could be that those memories have changed over the years. Regardless of this, we may soon be able to reach them in the future.
If we think about it, it’s kinda strange tat we don’t remember any of that stuff, especially given the fact that in between the ages of two and three we develop many of the traits that will influence our entire lives; namely how to walk and how to talk, among others.
The phenomenon of losing these memories as adults, is known as infantile amnesia. Researchers and scientists believe that the reason for it is our rapid growth of neurones during this stage of our lives and this interferes with our ability to store and then recollect memories as we get older.
But, interestingly enough, it turns out that we don’t actually lose them, and are, in fact, stored somewhere in our brain. This came after some experiments done on lab rats. Scientists have been studying 17-day-old rats (which are the equivalent of toddlers in human years) and were able to come to this conclusion.
The way they went about it was to use a box and a particular shock that they were exposed to wen they were younger. But as time went on, the rats would forget about it, like we humans would too, given enough time. But under the right circumstances, it turns out that older rats are able to remember the shock they experienced when they were infants, prompting scientist to believe that the memories are still locked somewhere in the brain.
Some scientists like Alessio Travaglia from New York University believes there’s a link between these ‘forgotten’ memories and the ‘off days’ we sometimes experience as adults. He believes that these may be the result of the old memories being triggered in some way.
Further study has shown that there are several proteins that increase or decrease in the brains of young and older rats. These proteins, it seems, are triggered by learning, not time, and one of these proteins may be responsible for protecting these memories. In theory, this protein could be used in humans in order to prevent the loss of our recollections from our younger years, or it could even be used to block some traumatic memories as well.
The research in the matter, however, is still in its early stages of development and some scientists disagree with the hypothesis by saying that human and rat memories are not the same and thus, the whole thing is not applicable. But whatever the case may be, this research could prove valuable in better understanding how the human mind works, regardless of this answer.