Most people do not have any memories until they are age three or older, and scientists are now discovering that the reason for this is because neuron growth in children actually takes up all of the room in the brain leaving no room for memories to be formed.
Canadian researchers are explaining that people cannot recall their childhood memories because of the high levels of neuron production that take place during the first couple of years of life. While the formation of these new brain cells makes it easier for a child to learn, it also clears out all old memories from the child’s mind. An expert from the London City University stated that the mouse study conducted by the Canadian scientist calls on some very controversial psychological theories.
The process of forming neurons in the hippocampus during early childhood is known as neurogenesis and is said to reach its peak before both before a child is born and then after it is born. At this point it steadily starts to decline during childhood and into adulthood. Dr. Sheena Josselyn and Dr. Paul Frankland wanted to figure out how this process might impact memory storage and conducted their research on both young and old mice.
They found that with adult mice starting neurogenesis after they had formed memories was enough to make the mice start forgetting. On the other hand, in infant mice they found that decreasing neurogenesis would allow the mice to exhibit better memories than what is normally common for this age.
The research therefore demonstrated that there is a direct link between memory recall and neuron growth. According to the researchers, this explains why most children are not able to remember anything from their early childhood, an occurrence that is known as infantile amnesia.