Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

pp 350-351

Childhood Amnesia

  • Maria PerdikogianniAffiliated withCenter for Therapy, Training and Research (KESY)
  • , Xenia Anastassiou-HadjicharalambousAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of Nicosia


Infantile amnesia


The inability to recall events from early childhood.


Childhood amnesia is characterized by a relative absence of memory before the ages of 3 or 4 [1, 5]. This term does not refer to a complete absence of memories but rather a scarcity of memories during infancy, memories that can later be influenced by individual experiences and cultural factors as well as how these early events are remembered and relayed to the children by parents [2, 9]. A few people can apparently recall momentous experiences that occurred when they were as young as 2 years old, such as the birth of a sibling but not earlier. Of course we all retain procedural memories from our toddler years, when we first learned to use the spoon, drink from a cup and take our first steps, just as we can retain semantic memories acquired in early life (the rules of counting, names of people and things, etc.). However, as adults we can no longer remember being ...

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