TPO10. Lecture 4. Psychology
TPO10. Lecture 4. Psychology
Narrator: Listen to part of a lecture in a Psychology Class.
OK. If I ask about the earliest thing you can remember, I will bet for most of you, your earliest memory would be from about age of 3, right? Well, that’s true for most adults. We cannot remember anything that happened before age of 3. And this phenomenon is so widespread and well-documented it has a name. It is called childhood amnesia and it was first documented in 1893. As I said, this phenomenon refers to the adults not being able to remember the childhood incidents. It’s not children trying to remember events from last month or last years. Of course it follows that if you can’t remember incidents as a child, you probably won’t remember as an adult. OK, so ⋯ why is this? What is the reason for childhood amnesia? Well, once a popular explanation was that child memories are always repressed and memories are disturbing so that is adults we keep them buried. And so we can’t recall them and this is base on⋯well it’s not base on, on, on⋯ the kind of self-research in the lab testing we want to talk about today. So let’s put that explanation aside and concentrate on just two. OK? It could be that as children we do form memories of things prior to age of 3, but forget as we get grew older, that’s one explanation. Another possibility is that children younger than 3 lack some cognitive capacity for memory. And that idea, that children are unable to form memories that have been the dominant belief psychology for the hundred years. And this idea is very much tied to things, the theory of Jean Piaget and also to language development in children. So PRJ’s theory of cognitive development— PRJ suggested that because they don’t have language, children younger than 18-24 months leave in the here and now that is they lack the mean to symbolic represent object, and events, that will not physically presented. Everybody get that? PRJ proposed that young children don’t have way to represent things that aren’t right in front of them. That’s what language does, right? Words represent things, ideas. Once language started to develop for about age 2, they do have a system for symbolic representation and can talk about things which are not in there in immediate environment including the past. Of course he didn’t claim that infants don’t have any sort of memory it is acknowledged that they can recognize some stimuli, like faces. And for many years this model were very much in favors in psychology, even though memory tests were never performed on young children. Well, finally in the 1980s, a study was done. And this study showed that very young children under age of 2 do have the capacity for recall. Now if the children can’t talk, how was the recall tested? Well, that is a good question, since the capacity for recall has always been linked with the ability to talk. So the researcher set up an experiment using imitation based texts. The adults use probable toys or other objects to demonstrate action that has 2 steps. The children were asked to imitate the steps immediately and then he again after delays of one or more month. And even after delay, the children could⋯could call or replicate the action, the objects they used, and the steps involved and the order of the steps. Even children as young as 9 months, now, test showed that there was a faster rate of forgetting among the youngest children but most importantly it shows that the development of the recall did not depend on language development. And that was an importance finding. I guess I should add that the findings, don’t say there was no connection between the development of language and memory. There are some of evidence that are being able to talk about the event does lead to having a strong memory of that event. But that does not seem the real issue here.
So, back to our question about the cause of the childhood amnesia, well, there is something called the rate of forgetting. And childhood amnesia may reflect high rate of forgetting, in other words, children under age of 3 do form memory and do so without language. But they forget the memories at a fast rate, probably faster than adults do. Researchers have set standards⋯.sort of an expected rate of forgetting, but that expected rate was set based on the tests done on the adults. So what is the rate of forgetting for children under the age of 3? We expected to be high, but the tests disproved these really haven’t been done yet.
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