The Making of Our Earliest Memories


The development of memory encompasses the development of language, the development of consciousness, personality and personal narrative. Infants are not only figuring out a new world, but also coming to understand their own independent existence, what one researcher called “me-ness.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Mark Brady
    Jun 14, 2012 @ 12:16:19

    When I was three years old I had my tonsils taken out. When I was six, I cut knee when a jackknife slipped off a stick I was carving. My immediate response to my mother was to beg her to “Please don’t take me to the hospital.” I had no linguistic memory available that would allow me to specifically say why I was so frightened of going to the hospital, but some part of me clearly dreaded the possibility.

    Allan Schore at UCLA posits that because the right side of the brain is the first to begin making early connections, it structurally becomes the default repository for storing early overwhelming experiences. Many appear to become stored there without the benefit of language, perhaps as imagery, smell and somatic sensation. In psychiatry and attachment research, this store of memories has been termed, “The Unthought Known.” Words and language are probably not ideal means to try to gain access to them. But that doesn’t mean they don’t drive aversive, fearful behaviors, much as white coats might.


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