In a memory survey, adult respondents recalled, dated, and described two
earliest positive and negative memories that they were highly confident
were memories. They then answered a series of questions that focused on
memory details such as clothing, duration, weather, and so on. Few
differences were found between positive and negative memories, which on
average had 4/5 details and dated to the age of 6/6.5 years. Memory for
details about activity, location, and who was present was good; memory
for all other details was poorer or at floor. Taken together, these
findings indicate that (full) earliest memories may be considerably
later than previously thought and that they rarely contain the sort of
specific details targeted by professional investigators. The resulting
normative profile of memory details reported here can be used to
evaluate overly specific childhood autobiographical memories and to identify memory details with a low probability of recall.
Source: The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology
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