Our earliest memories are sourced from the age of two and a half years old.
Despite being difficult to identify the exact time frame to our earliest memories, a study has found they can begin a whole year earlier than previously thought.
This study titled ‘What is your earliest memory? It Depends’ has been conducted through the use of existing data over the span of 21 years and it mainly focused on children and adults and their ability to draw on early memories.
The lead author of the study, Dr Carole Peterson said that people remember a lot from age two that they do not realize they do.
She explained that the study offered two reasons for this lack of realisation, one being that it is easy for people to remember earlier memories just by asking them what their earliest memory is.
And the second reason is that memories are ‘systematically misdated’ because most people believe that they were older than they were in their memories.
This study took a sneak peak at the memories of around 697 participants in Dr Peterson’s laboratory since 1999 has also discussed the telescope effect as part of its research.
Telescope effect is what makes it seem like an event happened more recently that it actually did and is also responsible for misremembering when an incident you recall, occurred.
Furthermore, the researchers explained that the more remote a memory is, this telescopic effect makes you see it as closer.
It has been established that when this happens, the memory is fast forward a year or two but when the child or adult is remembering events from age four upwards this does not happen.