Our earliest memories shape adulthood

By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer

adult memories
Our earliest memories can last well into our later years.

Did you know that early childhood memories, like your first day of preschool, can impact how your life turns out… all the way into adulthood? A new study found that events as early as from age 3 have long-lasting effects on our sense of identity, the way we create relationships, and decision-making in our teenage and grownup years. Research explored “childhood amnesia”, where most of our early memories have vanished by the time we’re 6-8 years old, since our brains aren’t physically able to hold onto them.

The importance of memory in human psychology cannot be underestimated, since it affects everything from learning which behaviors benefit or harm us, to making us stronger or weaker after surviving a tough situation. Depending on our experiences with people in friendships, family relationships, and romance, our mind adjusts future behaviors to avoid situations that remind us of painful past ones, or seek positive repeats.

We don’t just make these decisions on a conscious level, either, since most of our mind’s feelings, processes, and patterns are hidden from view in the subconscious. That being said, the more easily you can recall specific memories, the better you become at solving social problems. Despite the fact we often lose really old memories, new scientific techniques have discovered that we can actually hold onto them with surprisingly detailed recollection.

The best way to process memories effectively, is to talk about them with a trusted adult, having them ask who, what, where, and when questions about the memory. By engaging with your mind’s memory banks, reflecting on your past, and observing how it influences your present behavior, you can lead a more self-aware and psychologically healthy life.

Featured image courtesy of Antara on Flickr. Image of man courtesy of Thomas Leuthard on Flickr.