Many human development specialists have examined memory loss of adults later in life. During the past fifty years, there have been many studies in children’s cognitive development and earlier childhood memory loss. Ernest G. Schachtel conducted studies on why people forget childhood memories as they grow older. He described the processes that could be involved in early memory loss (Crain, 2005). He was influenced by Sigmund Freud’s cognitive theory (Crain, 2005). Lev S. Vygotsky, however, described children’s early memory development as a holistic process that involved society, physiological, cultural, and economical environments. (Vygotsky, 1978) Vygotsky was influenced by Karl Marx’s theory of people’s development, noted Crain (2005). Schachtel was influenced by Sigmund Freud; both theorists seemed to agree that children learn to remember more systematically when prompted by a more experienced person, like their parents and caregivers (Broderick and Blewitt, 2010). Young people separated from their parents when they were children can have fragmented memories of that earlier time. There are a series of systems involved in memory loss (Lerner, Easterbrooks, and Mistry, 2003). Keywords: memory, socialization, childhood, processes, environment
HSV 504: Human Development-Early memory loss
Doctor Schachtel said adults lose their very early childhood memories. He says the older children get, the more early childhood memories they lose (Crain, 2005). Crain (2005) explained that Schachtel said early childhood memory loss was called “infantile amnesia” (p.327). When they were infants people had intense experiences; however as time passed and other experiences took their place, they forgot the earlier memories (Crain, 2005). Most importantly, the earlier experiences were lost because they occurred before the child could speak. Like his predecessor Freud, Schachtel said that to some extent, early hostile and sexual feelings were repressed because they led to shame (Crain, 2005). Schachtel believed forgetting most early childhood memories was common to every experience people had during early childhood. In addition, children were socialized by caregivers and peers to change their first response to pleasure in order to conform to cultural expectations. Schachtel believed that the differences with adult’s and children’s memory loss were with how they experienced their lives. He said that adults experience their lives primarily through verbal associations (Crain, 2005), like seeing a nice shade of blue and saying what a pretty color it is. Children before one year of age experience their lives through taste and smell (Crain, 2005). As children grow up, they start to conform to the way adults and peers experience the world, yet to maintain the characterization of familiar perceptions of the world (Crain, 2005). Schachtel said that infants experience life with their senses. The most important sense is taste. Babies have more taste buds than adults do (Crain, 2005). Many times whatever they touch winds up in their mouths. In addition, the sense of smell is important to babies because they learn to identify their mother by her smell, as well as how she tastes. The sense of sight is not as important to infants as it is for older children (Crain, 2005). Schachtel identifies these senses as body senses. Temperature is felt on the body as hot and cold, they are inside senses, he said. Sight and hearing are outside senses because they are other focused. Smell and taste are inside focused (Crain, 2005). According to Schachtel, when adults experience memory categories, they have very little words to describe the tasting, smelling and feeling senses in memory (Crain, 2005). When children start to experience life by exploring new things, looking at their body functions for example, adults become concerned and begin socializing them to respond...