40 Percent Of Us Are Lying About Our First Memories
Woman holding baby picture for scrapbook. Photo: Seth Joel (Getty)
Anybody who says they remember being pulled from their mom’s innards is apparently full of it.
That’s right, scientists at the University of London recently studied more than 2,000 people who claimed to have a memory of being less than two years old. It turns out 893 of them wound up being just like your favorite politicians: big fat liars. Current research suggests none of us can remember anything that happened before the 42-month point of our lives. So, the question is, “Why would somebody say they remember their first or second birthday?”
“When we looked through the responses from participants we found that a lot of these first ‘memories’ were frequently related to infancy, and a typical example would be a memory based around a pram,” University of London professor Martin Conway said. “For this person, this type of memory could have resulted from someone saying something like ‘mother had a large green pram.’ The person then imagines what it would have looked like. Over time these fragments then become a memory and often the person will start to add things in such as a string of toys along the top.”
“Crucially, the person remembering them doesn’t know this is fictional. In fact, when people are told that their memories are false they often don’t believe it,” Conway added.
While the study showed that nearly 40 percent of us really had no idea what our first memory was, it’s still unknown if that number gets bigger for those who were exposed to Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood of make-believe on a regular basis.