Memory - Memory in Infancy

Memory in Infancy

Up until the middle of the 1980s it was assumed that infants could not encode, retain, and retrieve information. A growing body of research now indicates that infants as young as 6-months can recall information after a 24-hour delay. Furthermore, research has revealed that as infants grow older they can store information for longer periods of time; 6-month-olds can recall information after a 24-hour period, 9-month-olds after up to five weeks, and 20-month-olds after as long as twelve months. In addition, studies have shown that with age, infants can store information faster. Whereas 14-month-olds can recall a three-step sequence after being exposed to it once, 6-month-olds need approximately six exposures in order to be able to remember it.

It should be noted that although 6-month-olds can recall information over the short-term, they have difficulty recalling the temporal order of information. It is only by 9 months of age that infants can recall the actions of a two-step sequence in the correct temporal order - that is, recalling step 1 and then step 2. In other words, when asked to imitate a two-step action sequence (such as putting a toy car in the base and pushing in the plunger to make the toy roll to the other end), 9-month-olds tend to imitate the actions of the sequence in the correct order (step 1 and then step 2). Younger infants (6-month-olds) can only recall one step of a two-step sequence. Researchers have suggested that these age differences are probably due to the fact that the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus and the frontal components of the neural network are not fully developed at the age of 6-months.

Read more about this topic:  Memory

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